Posted by: juliegriffey | October 17, 2010

Gunk in the Eye

Our 14-month-old little boy, Thomas, is looking pretty rough.  He has had a cold which turned into an ear-infection, and now a really gunky eye (maybe a sinus infection?).  Thick, yellow, mucousy, slime is oozing out of his left eye. It’s not pretty.

Our pediatrician prescribed a course of antibiotics, so hopefully this will all clear up soon. However, this gunkiness caused me to wonder, why do we get gunk in our eyes, especially when we wake up in the morning?  Where the heck does this come from?

Apparently our eye gunk is a defense mechanism. The sticky substance that is secreted from our eyes helps keep dust and other particles from entering the eyes and scratching our corneas.   Leaving makeup on around the eye at night can trigger a greater secretion of  mucus to prevent the foreign substance from entering the eye.

Another source of gunk is an excess of tears (which are made of water, salt, mucus, etc…) that are produced when we sleep.  Tears help keep our eyes moist and clean. However, while we are sleeping, tears seep out of our eyes and then dry out, leaving behind dried mucus, aka gunk.

So there you have it.  The source of eye gunk.  Hopefully we will have a lot less of it soon.



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