Eye boogers, crusties, eye gunk…what is it?!

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We’ve all had them…beautiful crystallized crud on our eyelashes when we wake up or stringy eye gunk that we keep wiping away. There’s several reasons for why we get them and some are cause for more concern than others.

Dryness – Our tears are made up of three main components: water, oil and mucus. When we sleep, the water part is produced less and evaporates, leaving the oil and mucus. By the time you wake up, you just have dried oil and mucus on your lashes. Very common and no need to worry. Hakuna matata! Drink more water, eat more olive oil, try a nighttime artificial tear gel and maybe a humidifier.

Allergies – Just like how your nose and throat make mucus to expel pollen and dust, so do your eyes. You’ll get red, watery, itchy eyes and a stringy discharge that comes back even after you wipe them away. You can try rinsing the eyes out with cold saline solution, over the counter allergy drops or prescription drops. Definitely have an exam done to ensure the proper diagnosis.

Infection -Double trouble here. It usually starts in one eye and you’ll wake up with greenish colored crusts that almost seal your eye shut! And then, throughout the day, more greenish discharge (bacterial pus) that you keep wiping away. Definitely definitely definitely see an Optometrist for the proper diagnosis and antibiotic treatment. It’s very contagious, so don’t wipe one eye and then the other.

Dr. Dennis Cheng
dc optics
Learning is seeing.

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