Sleep in Your Eyes

When you wake
up in the morning, do you sometimes find that the sandman has left you with
more than a dream? Eye discharge, or “sleep” in your eyes, is a
combination of mucus, oil, skin cells and other debris that accumulates in the corner
of your eye while you sleep. It can be wet and sticky or dry and crusty,
depending on how much of the liquid in the discharge has evaporated. It
sometimes makes your eyes feel like they have been glued shut. Other slang
terms used to describe eye discharge include eye boogers, eye mattering, eye
gunk and eye pus.
Sleeping Like a Baby
called rheum, eye discharge has a protective function, removing waste products
and potentially harmful debris from the tear film and the front surface of your
eyes. Your eyes produce mucus throughout the day, but a continuous thin film of
tears bathes your eyes when you blink, flushing out the rheum before it hardens
in your eyes. When you’re asleep — and not blinking — eye discharge collects
and crusts in the corners of your eyes and sometimes along the lash line, hence
the term “sleep in your eyes.”
Some sleep in
your eyes upon waking is normal, but excessive eye discharge, especially if
it’s green or yellow in color and accompanied by blurry vision, light
sensitivity or eye pain, can indicate a serious eye infection or eye disease
and should be promptly examined by your eye doctor.
Follow these
simple tips to avoid or manage eye discharge:       
  • Refrain
    from touching your eyes to avoid the onset or spread of an eye infection.
  • Wash
    your hands frequently, especially if you have contagious pink eye.
  • If
    you experience eye discharge when wearing contacts, remove your lenses and see
    your eye doctor. Sometimes switching to daily disposable contacts can reduce
    the risk of contact lens-related discharge.
  • If
    you have an eye infection, discard any potentially contaminated cosmetics such
    as mascara and eyeliner.
  • If
    allergies are the cause of your watery eyes, investigate your environment and
    try to remove or minimize your exposure to the irritants. And if you’re
    sensitive to eye drops, try using preservative-free drops.


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