If you woke up this morning with your eyes feeling gummy or crusty, this could signify that you have allergies or possibly an infection.
The stickiness in your eye results from an accumulation of discharge composed of tears, mucus, oils, debris, and dead skin cells.
This usually isn’t cause for concern, but it could signify a more severe infection if it is long-lasting or excessive.
What Causes Sticky Eyes?
Normally, your tears are constantly keeping your eyes lubricated and free of debris.
But when you have allergies or an infection, this process is disrupted. Your tear ducts are blocked, and so mucus accumulates. It starts in the corners of your eyes and can spread across your eyelids, making them feel sticky.
You don’t blink very often when you sleep, so it’s common for there to be a little bit of crusty discharge when you first wake up.
But if your eyes are abnormally sticky or crusty, this could be due to:
- viral or bacterial infection in your eye or tear ducts
- inflammation of your eyelids
- eye ulcers (open sore)
- dirty contact lenses
- dry eye syndrome
Sticky eyes can come with other symptoms, such as:
- dry eyes
- itchy eyes
- red eyes
- burning sensation
- blurry vision
- light sensitivity
- symptoms of flu or infection
If you notice worsening symptoms or any green or yellow discharge in color, you should see a doctor as this could be a sign of a more serious infection.
How to Get Rid of Sticky Eyes
Treatment depends on the underlying cause of your sticky eyes, but you can start with some basic cleaning methods:
- Wash your hands thoroughly before touching your face.
- Use a warm washcloth to wipe away dried mucus gently.
- Use a clean, warm washcloth to relieve itchiness or irritation if you need a warm compress.
If you wear contact lenses, make sure they are clean and disinfected.
If allergies cause your sticky eyes, you can try using over-the-counter antihistamine drops to reduce the symptoms.
If your sticky eyes result from a bacterial infection, your doctor may prescribe antibiotic eye drops.
Discontinue use of any eye makeup or products that may be irritating your eyes or have come into contact with any infected areas.
While sticky eyes are usually not life-threatening, it’s important to see a doctor if your symptoms don’t improve or if they get worse. A more severe and untreated infection could lead to complications like vision problems or even blindness.
If you’re not sure what’s causing your sticky eyes, make an appointment with your doctor to get a proper diagnosis. They can recommend the best treatment for you.