Eye mucus also referred to as eye gunk, boogers or goop, is not a pleasant sight and it concerns many patients. As you may already know, eye mucus affects the corners of the eyes and mostly forms when asleep. While most people find it difficult to describe the mucus to an eye doctor, it is important that you at least describe the consistency when seeking treatment.

Causes of Mucus in Eye


Gray or Thick Green Eye Mucus

Possible cause: Thick gray or green eye mucous is an indication of an eye infection possibly caused by bacteria. Bacterial conjunctivitis is an eye infection that makes it difficult to open the eyes in the morning and this is mainly brought about by a pyogenic (puss producing) bacteria.

Other symptoms: Symptoms of this infection include eye irritation and redness. Other symptoms include eyelid edema which is an indication of N gonorrhea infection and preauricular nymph node which is also a caused by gonorrhea and found in severe conjunctivitis. More discharge may be produced in the eye and the patient may feel an inflammation or itchiness in the follicles.

When to see a doctor: If you notice any of the above signs, it is best to seek medical attention. Early diagnosis can prevent spreading the infection to other people.


Small, Dry Particles of Eye Mucus

Possible cause: This may be caused by allergic conjunctivitis which affects the eyelid lining and the white part of the eye also known as conjunctiva. This is often caused by mold, dander, pollen and other substances that cause allergies. Allergies often run in the family and it’s difficult to know the type of allergy a person has. When exposed substances you are allergic to, histamine is discharged to the conjunctiva leading to a swelling and consequent itching.

Other symptoms: Symptoms of this infection includes red eyes, tearing, dilated eye vessels visible in the white area, puffy eyelids and this occurs mostly in the morning as well as intense burning and itching.

When to see a doctor: Seek medical attention if your condition does not respond to over-the-counter medication or immediately you experience such an allergic reaction.


Thick Crusty Eye Mucus

Possible cause: This may be caused by viral conjunctivitis. Other possible causes include bacterial infections such as chlamydia or gonorrhea, allergic reactions or irritants such as dust, pool chlorine, smoke and shampoos.

Other symptoms: Increased sensitivity to light, redness in the eye’s inner lid or white area and increased tearing are some of the symptoms associated with this condition. The patient also may experience a green/white/thick yellow discharge with the latter spreading to the eye lashes during sleep. The eyes will feel itchy and it’s also possible to have blurred vision.

When to see a doctor: Seek immediate medical attention if you have any of the above symptoms.


Watery Eye Mucus

Possible cause: This is caused by a stye which is a tiny lump found inside or outside the eyelid. Styes are painful and they are often filled with pus. This infection is brought about by staphylococcus bacteria.

Other symptoms: Styes are easy to identify and the most notable symptom is a tender, red swelling on the eyelid’s edge. You could also notice a small bump on the mid-section of the eyelid

When to see a doctor: If you have a painful swelling that hasn’t subsided for weeks or one that interferes with your sight, seek medical attention. Recurrent styes also require medical attention.


White, Stringy Eye

Possible cause: This is caused by dacryocystitis which is an inflammation in the tear sac. The infection could be acute or chronic.

Other symptoms: Symptoms vary depending on whether the infection is acute or chronic. With acute infections, the tear sac will have some swelling, pain, redness and you may have increased tearing. The patient also experiences decreased visual clarity. Chronic symptoms include habitual epiphora which is the excessive production of tears as well as a persistent redness in the medial canthus. The patient also may have a swelling on the lacrimal sac.

When to see a doctor: If your child experiences pain, swelling in the eye, redness, pus or any other sign of an in infection, call your doctor.


Yellow Eye Mucus

Possible cause: This is caused by blepharitis which may be caused by various factors. These include bacterial infection, seborrheic dermatitis, malfunctioned oil glands, lice or eyelash mites, rosacea, allergies and certain medicines.

Other symptoms: Symptoms include red eyes, swollen eyelids, sticking of the eyelids, watery eyes, itching, increased blinking, increased sensitivity to light, loss of eyelashes and abnormal eyelash growth. The patient also may wake up with crusted eyelashes and have some flaking around the eyes. The eyelids will have a greasy appearance.

When to see a doctor: If these symptoms do not improve despite proper hygiene, make an appointment with your eye doctor.


Yellow or White Balls of Eye Mucus

Possible cause: This is caused by dry eye syndrome and it occurs when your hormones decrease your tear production. Common causes include sun exposure, allergic reactions to medicines, dry windy environments, smoking or exposure to cigarette smoke and colds. A previous injury to the eye also may cause this infection as well as chemical burns and Sjogren syndrome.

Other symptoms: Symptoms include sensitivity to light, a gritty feeling within the eye, itching, redness, burning sensation and blurred vision.

When to see a doctor: Book an appointment with your doctor if your eye or eyelid is sore, red or painful. If you had an eye injury, swelling, bulging or droopy eyelid, flaking, discharge or have dry mouth with the above symptoms, call your doctor as soon as possible.

Home Remedies for Mucus in Eye

  • Avoid touching the eyes. Touching your eyes worsens the infection and spreads it too.

  • Clean your hands regularly. Keep your hands clean and wash them frequently especially if you have pink eye as it is contagious.

  • Take off your contacts. Remove your contact lenses when you notice an eye discharge and switch to disposable contacts which are safer.

  • Discard eye makeup. Mascara and eyeliner should be avoided when you have an eye infection.

  • Remove irritants. Reduce your exposure to allergens.

  • Apply warm compresses. Warm compresses help relieve the symptoms accompanied by eye infections such as itching. You can unglue your eyelids by placing a wet, warm washcloth over the eye for a few minutes and wipe the gunk as well.

A person cured her infected eyes naturally with salt water method. Check it out:


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