The Most Common Causes of Eye Gunk

Woman having an eye checkup“Sleep” in the eyes is usually harmless. However, a change in color, consistency, and quantity of eye gunk may be a prompt to visit your trusted vision clinic in Maple Grove right away.

Here are some eye health issues associated with abnormal eye gunk:


Pink eye is a common eye disease that causes redness and swelling of the lining that covers the eye and eyelid. The infection can be viral, bacterial, or allergic. Common signs of an infected conjunctiva include tears, yellowish or greenish discharge, and crusty lashes.

Blocked tear duct

Glands inside the eyelids and the white part of the eyes constantly release tears into the eyes. The tears clean and moisten the eyes when you blink. The fluid then drains out through the tear ducts. If the drainage ducts get blocked, tears won’t drain normally. The obstructed tear exit duct becomes infected and causes abnormal discharge.

Dry eye syndrome

Regular tears contain oils, water, mucus, and antibodies. Each of this tear component has a critical purpose. If the components are not balanced or if there’s an inadequate production of tears, the eyes may get dry. The body compensates by making emergency tears, which, unfortunately, may not be as balanced as normal tears. If the emergency tears contain too much mucus, there’s a chance of abnormal eye gunk.

Corneal ulcer

An untreated eye infection, severe dry eye, or trauma to the eye can lead to a corneal ulcer. This sight-threatening open sore on the eye’s outermost layer can cause eye discharge.

When you are asleep, you don’t blink away the discharge from your eyes. The eye discharge then builds up in the corners of the eyes and you wake up with eye gunk. While eye boogers are usually nothing to worry about, you must visit an eye doctor right away if you’re concerned about your eye discharge.