What is “Sleep” in Your Eyes?

March 18, 2016 at 3:56 pm Leave a comment

We all get it. That icky, gross looking gunk that appears in our eyes when we wake up in the morning. Whether you call it eye mucus, sleep or eye discharge, this build-up is natural.

Eye discharge, or rheum as it’s technically known, is a collection of cells, mucus, oil and debris from the tears that form at the corners of our eyes during sleep. Rheum actually serves a protective function to remove waste and potentially harmful debris from the front surface of our eyes.

What Causes Eye Discharge?

Our eyes produce mucus throughout the day, but a continuous thin film of tears washes the mucus from our eyes as we blink. Blinking flushes out the rheum before it hardens, but when we’re asleep, we aren’t blinking. This is why the eye discharge collects at the corners of our eyes overnight, and we wake up with crusty eyes.

How to Safely Wash Away “Sleep” from Your Eyes

The best way to clean your eyes of discharge is to lay a washcloth soaked with hot water on the lids and lashes and gently clean them. If your eyes seem to be sticky or glued together, leave the hot washcloth on your eyes for a few minutes.

When to Call the Eye Doctor
Eye discharge is generally no cause for alarm, but excessive discharge – especially if it’s green or yellow or accompanied by vision issues – should be examined by an eye doctor. Increased eye mucus may be a sign of a more serious condition, such as pink eye.

Source: Essilor.com

Entry filed under: Safety, To Your Health.

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