Throughout the course of the day, your eyes will produce mucus or rheum, which helps remove waste from your eyes along with other harmful debris. When you blink, you’re able to flush out the mucus before it hardens, but when you’re sleeping, the mucus will accumulate in the corners of your eyes. When you wake in the morning, you may have a bit of crust, or “sleep” in your eyes, which is a combination of all the oil, mucus, and skin cells your eyes have discharged.

    While waking up with sleep in your eyes is considered normal, it’s important that you’re able to differentiate between normal eye discharge, and abnormal eye discharge. Abnormal eye discharge is usually either yellow or green in color, and is sometimes accompanied by eye pain, sensitivity to light, and blurry vision. Abnormal eye discharge should be checked out by an eye doctor as soon as possible so you can receive proper diagnosis and treatment.


    • Conjunctivitis: Also known as pink eye, conjunctivitis will cause your eyes to feel itchy, irritated, and gritty, and produces green, white, or yellow eye mucus that results in severe crusting. Conjunctivitis could make your eyes feel as if they are glued shut upon your waking.
    • Blepharitis: This eyelid disorder can often result in the production of yellow or green eye pus, foamy eye discharge, and eyelid crusting.
    • Stye: Often caused by an infected eyelash follicle, a stye can trigger yellow pus, eyelid crusting and discomfort while blinking.
    • Dry eyes: Dry eyes are often caused by insufficient tear production, and can produce watery eye discharge.
    • Contact lenses: An increase in eye discharge when wearing contact lenses could be a sign of a contact lens-related eye infection. Remove your contact lenses promptly and see your eye doctor as soon as possible.
    • Corneal ulcer: This abscess-like infection of the cornea can result in eye discharge so thick in consistency that it impairs vision.
    • Dacryocystitis: This condition, which results from a blocked tear duct, can cause thick, sticky, eye discharge.


    A small amount of eye discharge in the morning is typically considered normal, but if your eye discharge changes in frequency, consistency, color, and amount, make an appointment with your eye doctor immediately to undergo an eye examination. If your discharge is found to be caused by an eye infection, your eye doctor may prescribe antiviral eye drops and ointments, or antibiotics.

    If you’re experiencing extreme discomfort from abnormal eye discharge, place a warm compress over your eyes to relieve symptoms of pain, general discomfort, and itching. A warm compress can also help “unglue” your eyelids if they’ve become stuck together and are causing you to experience difficulty with opening your eyes.

    Call Silverstein Eye Centers today to make an appointment for an eye exam.

    Posted December 16, 2014 by Silverstein Eye Centers
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