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Why do we get sleep dust or eye mucus and is it healthy?

Dr Sanjay Verma tells you all you need to know about eye mucous.

Written by Bhakti Paun Sharma |Updated : April 27, 2016 10:56 AM IST

Ever wondered what the white crusted dust or mucus at the corner of your eye is every morning? Whether you call it eye-gound, gunk, mucous or eye-booger, this discharge is healthy. It is a way of eliminating waste or harmful debris from the surface of your eyes or the tear film. Dr Sanjay Verma HOD of Ophthalmology, Paras Hospitals, Gurgaon answers our queries related to sleep dust or eye mucous

What eye mucous? How and why is it produced?

It is a combination of the oil, dust and skin cells which form a sticky or crusted dust that accumulates in the corner of your eyes. Our eyes produce tears throughout the day, but sometimes this tear film is reduced due to various reasons and the normal day to day pollutants are not washed out from the eye because of this. The mixture of moisture with these pollutants is mucus. When we are asleep, we don t blink. Since we don t blink, eye discharge collects in the corners of our eyes throughout the night, resulting in us waking up with that familiar crusty mucous in our eyes.

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Is eye mucous harmful?

Sometimes when the immunity of the eye is reduced and mucus is laden with harmful bacteria, it can cause conjunctivitis, redness, watering eye, double or blurred vision, discomfort and gritty sensation. If an ophthalmologist is consulted at the right time, it does not cause severe harm to the eye. Also, if you wear contact lenses, and experience more than the regular discharge of mucus, remove the lenses immediately and visit a doctor. You can also care for your contact lenses with these tips.

Signs of abnormal eye discharge

When there is excess mucus production with redness and discomfort, or a yellowish discharge or a blurry vision, it may indicate an eye infection. One must visit an ophthalmologist for expert opinion and treatment in such case. Here are some symptoms of conjunctivitis you must know.

Ways to avoid excess discharge

Observing proper ocular hygiene is a must. If you observe excessive mucus whether crusted or sticky in the morning, wash your eyes thoroughly with water before going to bed. Splashing water in your eyes to clean them when you return home from outdoors is the ideal way to get rid of pollutants and irritants. Protect your eyes with sunglasses when outdoors. Also, follow these expert tips to protect your eyes from heat.

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