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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  • SuzyqOct.25 01:11
    I have also had stringy stuff coming out of both of my eyes for many years. Most recently there are globs of mucus coming out when I lift my eyelid and press it against my eyeball it comes out from underneath my eyelid. I am finding this a terrible dilemma lately as it affects my whole day most days. A month ago I went to an eye doctor and he prescribed Restasis for chronic dry eye disease. My eyes are getting worse since I started Restasis. That stringy stuff just never stops forming and needing to get out of my eye. I am very sick of people that keep telling me to stop putting my finger in my eye because if I don't get the stuff out my vision is so blurry I am unable to see most times. Also some people call it mucus fishing syndrome meaning that because you put your finger in your eye you start the stuff forming in your eye and it becomes a vicious cycle supposedly and some people just keep picking stuff out and picking stuff out and more forms. The theory for mucus fishing syndrome is that the person causes that initially by putting their finger in their eye. I totally disagree with that because I wake up with it in my eyes and I am certainly not putting my finger in my eye while I am asleep. I read something about eye doctors putting plugs in the eye where the mucus comes out of. The plugs supposedly I think stop the mucus from coming out. I am more than willing to have this operation but then I wonder if the mucus does not come out what the heck is it doing inside my head.
  • CariJan.12 20:41
    @ : @suzyq I realize your post was back in October, and for all I know, it could have been Oct 2009 lol but, I had to respond because to be honest, if I had written my own post, it would have been basically identical to yours. I have had the EXACT same problems you describe! And, like you I have been suffering with this for many many years. In fact, as far back as I can recall. And it just seems as if it very slowly, gradually got worse through the years. And, there's 2 things I hate and am sick of hearing and reading, #1)just like you, I keep reading about the "eye fishing" thing, every time I google my symptoms or, inquire about it somewhere online. And, it's like you said, I don't "fish" in my sleep and, I cannot just leave it there because it obstructs my vision and, it's also very irritating. And #2) that I have "dry eye" HOW, how can it be DRY? it's the opposite of dry! It's too wet! I mean, there is SO MUCH mucus that, I can even actually HEAR it when I rub my eye. Even when I just gently touch my eyelid with my eye closed, I can hear it squishing around, as if theres a load of fluid and air trapped under my eyelid. Not only can I hear it, other people in the room can even hear it too! I mean, why is there SO MUCH of it and, how do I make it go away? I have tried things like sinus decongestants. Even the expensive ones, and I have been taking those as well as antihistamines pretty regularly for most of my life as, I'm prone to seasonal allergies, or whatever allergens in the air happen to be high at the moment. So, if that's the cause and, I'm taking everything you can take for that, what now? I just live with it? Also, I do get it in both eyes but, one eye (my right) is definitely much much more effected by it than the other. So, I was researching it (AGAIN!) and that's how I ended up here. Anyhow, I was wondering if you ever found any relief? I'm really going crazy with this. :-(
  • ChelsieOct.20 16:50
    For a while now I've been annoyed by white gummy eye boogies. They're stringy and can be over a half inch sometimes, it's crazy. Recently though, my top eyelid on my left eye has started getting dry and scaly and now it's red and uncomfortable.
  • Sindhu Jul.1 18:59
    Also avoid windy places..wear your sunglasses ..avoid air conditioning fan heaters directly hitting your eyes..I usually direct the car ac to my legs or to the passenger seat..also take food high in omega 3 fatty acids. .sometimes I apply flaxseed oil to my hair nd it works too..
  • Sindhu Jul.1 18:55
    I hav the same issue for the past 5 years.. The remedy I have found is to apply Castor oil around my eyes. .sometimes I put a drop in each eyes. .It really works!! Apply it every night before sleep even on the days yo feel good..The dryness reduces and the irritation is also under control!! Cheers !
  • BrookeJun.23 14:18
    I also tend to always feel like one eye is very swollen at random moments when I look in the mirror and it's not and it usually feels like there's something in it even if there isn't
  • BrookeJun.23 14:13
    At random moments keep getting more eye mucus than normal where my eyes are glued shut in the morning, they are red, and my eyes are swollen. It's not pink eye, I've had that before. I had it for abouy a week before and then it just went away and this morning I woke up with more than normal with little sacs of the goop hiding under my eyelids that I can just rub out. Can this be related to foods like bread and sugar? Could this be allergies cause I fell asleep with itchy eyes last night? Please help!
  • Sharon ThomasJun.15 15:27
    I had this stringy white mucus coming out of my eye since 4-5 years. Now I am 18 years old and I fear that it may damage my vision. I never told it to my family doctor because I feared that this is a rare disorder. But as I read the above article, I am confused whether I it is chronic or not. When should I check from my doctor.. is it high time..?
  • It is caused by severe dry eyes,my Dr. Told me to take to clean socks and put a cup of rice in each one and heat them up and place them on my eyes for 15 mins a night along with refresh eye salve. Been working real well so far!
  • anita kaye hornApr.10 14:06
    This stuff is awful i have suffered for3 years and been to eye doctors not much help there
  • NisaApr.25 16:22
    @ : My boyfriend is also suffering and he has been given drops for infection but it keeps happening. Now he is unable to see at night and in changing light so I think it is something more serious. But doctors keep telling him they find nothing wrong. I don't know what they should be testing for or how to resolve his issue. Any ideas or suggestions.
  • sharonSep.9 09:55
    Instead of putting your whole face in a dish of salt water like in the video, I would suggest getting an eye bath! they hardly cost anything from a pharmacy and can be thrown away and replaced cheaply as needed.
  • SusanJan.24 19:43
    @ : What do I ask for by name of an "eye bath"? Is it a prescription? Tell me more about this treatment.
  • Arya Feb.20 23:52
    @ : At any pharmacy, asking for what you need for an eye bath or eye wash bottle should be enough for them to direct you to the item. It does not need a prescription and can generally be found with first aid supplies or where they sell eye care items.
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