Eye Discharge: What It Is and Other Eye Conditions Related to It

Eye Discharge: What It Is and Other Eye Conditions Related to It

Eye discharge is something people often wake up with and find discharge around their eyes. This can be dry, wet, sticky, or crusty, depending on how much liquid your eyes release overnight. This is a combination of mucus, skin cells, oil, and other debris that accumulates in the corners of your eye as you sleep. It is a normal thing that happens to every human, but too much of it can mean that something is wrong with your eyes.

How Eye Mucus Appear

Eye discharge is a product of your tear film, and it is an important component of good eye health. It consists of thin, watery mucus, called mucin, produced by the conjunctiva, mixed with meibum, an oily substance secreted by the meibomian glands that help with eye lubrication.

Your eyes produce mucus throughout the day, but the thin film of tears inside your eyes flushes them out before they harden. When you sleep, your blinking stops, which causes the eye discharge to collect and harden. 

A buildup of eye mucus around your eyes when you wake up is expected. However, a change in eye mucus colour, consistency, and quality can indicate an eye infection or eye disease, especially if accompanied by eye pain, light sensitivity, or blurry vision.

Common Eye Conditions Related to Abnormal Eye Discharge

Here are some eye conditions you should watch out for if you think you are experiencing unusual eye discharge. 

Dry Eyes

Dry eyes syndrome is a condition that occurs when the surface of the eyes do not get proper lubrication due to insufficient tear production or impairment in the meibomian glands. Symptoms include red and bloodshot eyes, feeling a burning sensation or that something is in your eye, and blurry vision. Then, the eyes start to become irritated and inflamed. The condition also triggers a watery discharge from your eyes.

Contact Lenses

Wearing contact lenses makes you more prone to eye mucus than others. Contact lenses can make your eyes dry and irritated. It can trigger infection and make you want to rub your eyes more. If you experience an increase in discharge while wearing your contacts, remove them and see your eye doctor immediately.

Eye Injury

If dirt, debris, or a chemical substance enters your eye, it can cause your eyes to produce watery discharge as a protective response. However, if you observe blood in your eyes after an eye injury, treat it as an emergency. Visit your eye doctor immediately and get urgent treatment. 


Eye discharge is one of the most common symptoms of conjunctivitis or pink eye. It is the inflammation of the conjunctiva or the thin membrane that lines the whites of the eyes and the inner surface of the eyelids. In some severe cases, the crusting becomes so thick that it temporarily blocks one’s vision. People with conjunctivitis usually observe a white, yellow, or green eye mucus that forms a crust along their lash lines as they sleep. 


Blepharitis can either be an inflammation of the eyelash’s hair follicles or abnormal oil production from the meibomian glands. When the meibomian glands function abnormally, they can cause foamy eye discharge that leads to eyelid crusting and yellow or green eye pus, aside from the other irritating and painful symptoms.

Corneal Ulcer

This infection of the cornea usually stems from an untreated eye infection or trauma to the eye. You will experience severe eye pus that clouds your cornea. If not treated right away, it can lead to a complete loss of vision. 


If you experience any of the conditions mentioned above, remember to refrain from touching your eyes and see your eye doctor immediately for proper diagnosis. Eyes are crucial parts of our everyday lives, and they should be taken care of, and excess eye mucus is their way of telling you they need help.

Are you feeling any eye discomfort or unusual production of eye mucus? Do not wait until things get worse. Prioritize eye care by visiting our clinic. Simon Kleyn is an independent and family-owned group of opticians with over thirty years of providing eye care and other optical services in Essex

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