Lots of eye crust? We’ve all been there. (Photo: Instagram/Gigi Hadid)
If you wake up most mornings with gunk clouding your eyes or crusty residue caked in the corners, we feel your pain. Most days are nothing to complain about, but we’ve all had embarrassing eye booger experiences on bad mornings, and we know it can get nasty.
But according to one pro, we’re just going to have to grin and bear it. Dr. Jeff Pettey, a spokesman for the American Academy of Ophthalmology, says that eye crust is normal (for the most part) and isn’t going anywhere. “Sleep crust is made up of a mix of mucus, exfoliated skin cells, oils and tears produced or shed by the eye during sleep,” Pettey told The Huffington Post. “It’s a natural part of healthy eye function.” Blinking and tearing during the day keep components of eye crust from accumulating in the corners of your eyes, but at night, gravity doesn’t do us any favors and crust collects.
Worried you might have too much eye crust? Pettey ensures that everybody has different amounts, and that’s healthy. “Some people have so little material they may not even notice it is there,” he says. “And during allergy season or when a person’s eyes are dry, more crust may develop.”
So when should you start worrying? Pettey says that normal eye crust should by white or light cream in color. Any other color could indicate unhealthy function. “If the discharge becomes yellow or green, that can be a sign of bacterial conjunctivitis – a form of pink eye.” Also, chronic conditions like blepharitis, dry eye, and allergic conjunctivitis are known to cause sleep crust. For the most part this is a normal part of the conditions, but in some cases there can be so much eye mucus that your lashes will stick together, which probably means you’re due for a visit to the ophthalmologist. “Besides the crusting, your eye doctor can help you alleviate other symptoms you may have, including redness, itchiness, watery eyes, or a burning sensation in the eye,” says Pettey. Sorry about your eye boogers, but unless you’ve noticed a major change, they’re probably healthy.