Waking up with squinty eyes? This is what your body is trying to tell you
Crusty eyes in the morning can be normal. But if a gun seems to be spinning out of control, there’s probably a reason for that.
Crusts on the eyes are formed during sleep because we don’t blink, he explains Nathan Langemo, OD, an optometrist at Hopkins Eye Clinic in Hopkins, Minnesota. When your eyes are closed for long periods of time, a normal discharge consisting of water, oil, and mucus can build up around the corners of your eyes and lash lines. As a result, your eyes may feel a little crusty, sticky, or watery when you first open them.
Certain conditions may cause your eyes to produce more discharge than normal, which can lead to more watery eyes or dirt when you wake up. Here’s a look at what might be bothering your watchers and what to do about it.
Dry eye it happens when your eyes don’t produce enough water and oil to keep your eyes well lubricated. A lack of moisture can cause eye irritation, which can lead to problems such as sensitivity, burning, redness, and stringy mucus or discharge. During the night, this discharge can dry up and form scabs around the eyes.
“It’s one of the most common causes of excessive scabbing after waking up,” says Dr. Langemo.
Fix it: Artificial tears and a few lifestyle adjustments (such as taking a break from the screen) may be enough to control dry eye, according to Mayo Clinic. If your doctor determines that your dry eye is caused by an underlying condition, he or she may recommend prescription medications to reduce eye inflammation or stimulate tear production in the eyes.
2. You have seasonal allergies
Irritants like pollen, dust, or mold can make your eyes red, itchy, watery, or watery during the day. And when the discharge builds up overnight, your eyes can be extra crusty or sticky in the morning, he says Barrett Eubanks, MDan ophthalmologist in Murrieta, California.
Fix it: Placing a warm, clean cloth over your eyes for a minute or two can help relieve irritation. But you’ll have to stick with the good one allergy management habits that the crusts do not return. This includes avoiding exposure to your allergen as much as possible and talking to your doctor about it allergy medicines or eye drops against allergies, per Johns Hopkins Medicine.
This common eye infection can cause your eyes to produce a lot of mucus and pus (not to mention cause rednesspain, itching, sensitivity to light and feeling as if something is stuck in your eye). “This extra discharge is too much for the normal eye discharge to handle. It builds up on the lashes and in the corners of the eye as extra crusts around the eyes,” says Dr. Eubanks.
Fix it: Most cases of pink eye are viral and will clear up on their own within a week or two. If your pink eye is bacterial, your doctor may prescribe antibiotic eye drops to control the infection. (Bacterial pink eye usually causes more pus than viral pink eye, but it’s a good idea to get your eyes examined so your doctor can determine what you’re dealing with.)
In either case, applying a cool, moist compress to your eyes can break up excess crusting and make your eyes feel a little more comfortable, according to American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO). (Here’s more home remedies for pink eye.)
Not everyone is familiar with blepharitis, the buildup of bacteria on the eyelids that causes dandruff-like scales to form on the eyelids. But it’s another common reason for waking up with squinty eyes, says Dr. Langemo. The problem can also cause burning eyes, sensitivity to light, or tears that are foamy or bubbly. It often occurs with problems such as rosacea or dandruff.
Fix it: Blepharitis is a chronic condition, but you can control it by keeping your eyelids clean and scab-free. The best way to do this is by regularly cleaning your eyelids and eyelashes with a soft cloth, warm water and a mild baby shampoo, according to National Eye Institute. Your doctor may also recommend eye drops to relieve redness or discomfort, as well as antibiotics.
Corns are red, pimple-like bumps that form when the oil gland around the eyelid becomes clogged and infected. Your eye produces more tears, mucus, and oil to fight infection, which can build up around the eye and cause crusting, explains Dr. Langemo.
Fix it: A bunion usually heals on its own within a few weeks. But you can speed up the process.
First, apply a warm, damp washcloth to your eyelids to remove surface scabs. Then apply a warm eye gel pack to the affected area for five minutes. (Try the Up & Up Hot + Cold Gel Bead Eye Mask, $8.79 Goal.) “A warm compress consisting of a wet cloth is not enough because it does not allow five minutes of prolonged heat [the way gel packs can],” says Dr. Lanegmo.
Here’s more home remedies for ringwormand a word of caution: don’t try to remove the eyeball as this can spread the infection to the other eye.
6. You have a blocked tear duct
Clogged tear ducts, which happen when your eyes can’t drain normally, can make your eye excessively teary and inflamed, and lead to mucus or crusting. The problem most often affects newborns, but it can also occur due to age-related eye changes, infections, eye injuries or as a side effect of chemotherapy, according to Mayo Clinic.
Fix it: Blocked tear ducts may require surgery to repair, so see your doctor to discuss your options. In the meantime, take steps to manage the bark. “It’s best to use a clean, wet washcloth and gently dab the extra moisture onto your eyes and lids,” says Dr. Eubanks.
7. You have another eye infection
Pink eye and canine aren’t the only infections that can affect your eyes. There are a number of bugs that can make your eyes feel uncomfortable, watery, watery or scratchy – and some can be potentially serious.
Fix it: See your ophthalmologist if you suspect you have an eye infection. They can examine your eyes to determine what is causing the infection and the best way to treat it.
A little squint when you wake up isn’t a big deal.
“However, if the discharge covers the eyelashes and makes it difficult to open the eyes, this could be a problem. Discharge during the day and discharge at night can also indicate a problem,” says Dr. Eubanks. In either case, it’s a good idea to get your eyes examined so you can figure out what’s going on and decide on the best solution.
You should also see an eye doctor if you have green or yellow eye discharge, eye pain, swelling, sensitivity to light, or new or unusually blurred vision, according to Cleveland Clinic. These could be signs of an eye infection or some other problem that needs treatment.