The little dry or sticky balls, called “eye poop,” that form in your eyes are actually a good thing because they help trap particles and clean your eyes. While a small amount each day, especially in the morning, is nothing to worry about, a large amount of thick lumps could be a sign of a more serious problem, especially if your eyes are also irritated, red and puffy. How to get rid of eye droppings? We will see below how to prevent them from developing.
What are eye turds?
What are eye poops called in the medical field? Technically, “eye poop” (also called eye discharge) is another name for a type of mucus produced by the eyes.
This substance has the role of helping to protect and clean the eyes, as it retains elements such as dust, dirt, makeup and other compounds and chemicals present on your skin or in the air. When you have crusty or sticky discharge from your eyes, it’s actually a combination of mucus, oil, skin cells, salts, and other debris.
Is it normal to have eye droppings every morning?
Yes, in small amounts, but it really depends on the type and the amount. Many people wake up with poopy eyes or crusty eyes because they didn’t blink during sleep. Normally, blinking helps clear mucus from the eyes and keep the eyes clean. Mucus can build up overnight and dry up, reaching the tear ducts, corners of the eyes, and eyelashes, where boogers usually go.
Types of eye poop (what’s normal and what’s not):
The mucus should not normally be light yellow, whitish or transparent. There shouldn’t be any large lumps in your eyes, but rather a small amount in the corner of your eyes and on your lashes.
Beware of green, gray or dark yellow eye droppings or those that accumulate in large drops (like the ones that close your eyelashes almost hermetically). This may indicate that you have an eye infection, especially if you also have itchy, burning, red and/or irritated eyes. If you have conjunctivitis, you may also have very watery eyes, like you’ve been crying all day.
Babies tend to have more mucus and boogers because their eye canals clog more easily. Watch out for green or yellow mucus in your baby’s eyes, especially one that builds up throughout the day.
Ask your doctor about possible treatments for your baby’s eye mucus, such as keeping the eyes clean and applying warm compresses. Normally, this problem resolves on its own when the baby is about a year old, but talk to your doctor anyway.
As we explained above, it is normal to have some degree of poo in your eyes, especially upon waking up in the morning. But if you have a lot of them, especially if you suddenly start having more of them and have other symptoms, it could indicate an eye problem.
You may produce excessive amounts of poo if any of the following apply to you:
You go to bed with makeup on.
You wear contact lenses.
You apply products, including drops, to your eyes to treat dry eye syndrome.
You apply products near the eyes that could be irritating, such as eye cream, serum, mascara, etc.
Dirt and dust get into your eyes, for example if you work in a dirty place.
You suffer from seasonal allergies that can cause watery eyes and itchiness.
An eye infection has developed in your eyes, making them watery and sluggish.
Eye infections that can cause more mucus in your eyes than usual include the following:
conjunctivitis (pink eye)
blepharitis, a common eye disorder that causes inflammation and swelling of the eyelid. People who have oily skin, dry eyes, or dandruff are more likely to develop blepharitis.
chalazion, or inflamed and blocked glands in the eyelids
a scratched cornea
a blocked tear duct (especially common in babies).
How to get rid of eye poop
Do you have to remove eye turds?
Yes, you can gently remove them using a clean finger or, even better, a clean towel or tissue.
Here are some other tips to reduce the amount of eye poop your eyes produce
1. Keep your eye area clean
To prevent debris from getting into your eyes, keep your eyelids and the area around your eyes clean. Wash your entire face, including your eyes, once or twice a day using a natural, non-irritating soap. Try not to get the soap directly into your eyes. Always wash your hands before touching your eyes, and try not to rub them often.
2. Always remove make-up at night
Sleeping with makeup on is one of the main causes of eye poop. Be sure to clean off makeup before bed, using a gentle, fragrance-free cleanser. (You can follow up with a natural moisturizer, like this homemade moisturizer for dry skin). Remove makeup from your eyes with a clean washcloth and soap rather than makeup remover pads. These can leave products on your face and eyes that can trigger reactions. If you use makeup remover, rinse it off or wash your face afterwards. Another common recommendation is to replace eye makeup, such as mascara and eyeliner, every six months or so. These products can accumulate bacteria which can then be transferred to your eyes, so avoid keeping the products open for too long.
3. Remove and clean your contact lenses every night
If you wear contact lenses, be sure to remove them every night before going to bed. Clean them well with an appropriate solution and replace them as instructed, depending on their type. If you’re a long-term contact lens wearer (two weeks or more) and find that your eyes are often irritated and watery, consider switching to daily lenses or wearing more glasses. It is also common to have dry eyes if you wear contact lenses for many hours. You can try rewetting your eyes with lubricating eye drops to clean and refresh them.
4. Apply a warm compress to irritated eyes
If your eyes are puffy and red for some reason and you notice mucus building up, try gently pressing a warm washcloth against the affected area for several minutes. You can do this several times a day to soothe and clean the eyes. However, if it lasts for several days or gets worse, go to your doctor for a checkup.
5. Avoid allergens and irritants near your eyes
In general, be careful not to apply commercial products containing potential allergens near your eyes. Many makeup products, skin products, and hair products contain irritants that can cause eye inflammation. If you think your eyes are suffering from seasonal or food allergies, try an elimination diet or talk to your doctor about ways to manage your symptoms.
Risks and side effects
See your doctor right away if you think you have an eye infection. You could have conjunctivitis caused by bacteria or another virus. Watch for signs of an infection or allergic reaction such as:
red or pink eyes
Swelling and pain
Styes that last more than a few days or other new bumps
Sensation of something stuck in the eye, like a tiny piece of dirt or even a dry contact.
Increased sensitivity to light
Your eyes produce mucus to help keep them clean. Sometimes this mucus builds up and ends up in the eyelashes or corners of the eyes, which is called “eye poop”.
You’re more likely to get a lot of eye poop if dust, dander, mascara, other makeup products, and chemicals get in your eyes.
Here’s how to get rid of boogers: Be sure to clean your eyes and face regularly, and avoid touching them with dirty hands, sleeping with makeup on, wearing contact lenses, or using irritating products. Watch for other signs of an infection, such as pink or red eyes, burning sensation, pain, swelling, and vision changes.