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13th Apr 2016

This is why your eyes are gooey or crusty after you wake up in the morning

Mucus much?

Jordan Gold

Eye goop – aka eye snot or eye mucus (that’d be “eye boogers” to our American friends) – isn’t exactly the most glamorous of bodily secretions.

That said, research suggests the gloopy stuff may actually be pretty vital to maintaining healthy bodily functions and good vision.

In this week’s episode of Quick Questions, a show produced by YouTube channel SciShow, amateur scientist Michael Aranda attempts to explain why your eyes are so crusty and gooey when you wake up in the mornings.

Long story short: eye mucus is a combination of mucus, oil, skin cells and other debris that accumulates in your eyes.

It’s there in your waking life too, but a tear layer keeps your eyes lubricated and clean while you’re awake. When you’re asleep, that cleaning function isn’t possible – and so the goo builds up, creating that disgusting stuff in the corner of your eyes the next morning.

The general message is: don’t worry, happens to all of us. But eye gunk can also be an indicator of more serious conditions that shouldn’t be ignored: for instance, if you get the dreaded “pinkeye” infection, the gunk buildup can get so bad that you mightn’t be able to open your eyes at all in the morning.



And for pub quiz trivia fans, the official names for eye mucus is gound or rheum. You’re welcome.

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