Why is there gunk in my eye and should I be worried? Symptoms and causes of infection

Rachel Riley promotes eye health after successful check up

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Your eyes are an important part of your health. Most people rely on their eyes to see and make sense of the world around them. Occasionally, when waking up or during the day, the eyes may begin to feel as if there is gunk in them. This could be caused by a number of things.

Blocked tear duct

You have a tear gland above each eyeball, explains WebMD.

The site continued: “They make the fluid that gets wiped across your eye when you blink.

“It drains into ducts in the corner of your eye closest to your nose. If a tear exit duct is blocked, that fluid has nowhere to go.

“The duct can get infected and cause discharge.”

Mucus fishing syndrome

When strands of mucus continually develop and a person keeps removing them from their eye, this is known as mucus fishing syndrome.

The name refers to the way a person “fishes” these strands from their eye.

“The primary symptom of mucus fishing syndrome is the frequent removal of strands of mucus from the surface of the eye,” said Medical News Today.

“Constant repetition of this action makes it more likely that eye irritation and infection will occur.”

Corneal ulcer

A corneal ulcer is an open sore on your cornea. Infection is the leading cause.

The Cleveland Clinic further explained: “Symptoms include a red, watery and bloodshot eye; severe eye pain and pus or other eye discharge.

“A corneal ulcer can lead to vision loss and blindness.”

When is it serious?

Symptoms that can accompany gunk in the eye warning you may need to see a healthcare professional include:

  • Puffy eyelids
  • Mucus, pus or excessive tearing from eye
  • Yellow or green discharge in eye
  • Discharge comes back after being wiped away
  • Dried discharge on eyelashes and eyelids
  • Eyelashes stuck together after sleep.
  • Whites of the eye red or pink (sometimes they remain normal)
  • Light sensitivity.

Tips to keep the eyes healthy and reduce infections include:

  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Get regular exercise
  • Wear sunglasses
  • Wear protective eye wear
  • Avoid smoking
  • Know your family medical history
  • Know your other risk factors
  • If you wear contacts, take steps to prevent eye infections
  • Give your eyes a rest.

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