Have you ever wondered what are eye boogers and why we even have them? If those questions piqued your interest and you actually want to know the answers to them, popular YouTube channel SciShow revealed the answers.
For those who are unfamiliar with the term eye boogers, they are medically known as eye discharge. According to Eye Health Web, eye discharge is a yellowish, sticky, crusty substance that can make eyes feel like they have been glued shut. They are mostly recognizable when a person wakes up in the morning. Though most people consider eye discharge to be disgusting, it is actually a sign an eye’s natural defenses are working. Eye discharge usually happens whenever the eye is harmed in some way by external sources. Oily skin, too much cosmetics, chemicals, debris, or usage of contact lenses are all possible reasons for eye discharge.
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The details provided on the medical web source are just a generic explanation of what eye discharge is and why we get it. SciShow goes beyond the call and actually does a more thorough explanation of it in a far more entertaining way. For example, eye discharge is actually known as gound or rheum in which the video provides the following definition on the latter.
“Rheum is a term for any thin discharge that comes from mucus-y-parts of your body, like your eyes and nose. The kind that comes from your eyes is made up of all kinds of junk, like mucus, dead skin cells, oil, dust, and bacteria.”
SciShow also brought up the fact that eye discharge usually occurs during sleep. Of course, they were able to follow-up with the reason that eye discharge actually happens all the time, even when you are awake. The thing is that eyes are protected by something known as a tear film which consists of a thick layer of watery mucus with a very thin layer of oil on top. While awake, people will blink, thus removing any foreign items that come into contact with the tear film. When asleep, people are not blinking and the tear film accumulates foreign items.
“When you close your eyes for the night – or even just for a nap – you stop blinking, which means you’re not clearing out all that debris.”
“So it builds up, along with some of the mucus and oil from the tear film, and collects in the corner of your eye.”
Finally, SciShow answered why some eye discharge is dry and crusty while others are wet and gooey, stating it has a lot to do with what foreign materials went into the eye as well as the condition of the eye. They used the example of people with allergies constantly rubbing their eyes, thus causing more eye mucus. This state produces more gunk on the tear film, resulting in more wet and gooey eye discharge.
If the eye discharge gets too extreme, a condition called conjunctivitis, which is commonly known as pinkeye, might occur. It is the inflammation of the outermost layer of the white part of the eye and the inner surface of the eyelid. However, the kind of conjunctivitis caused by too much eye discharge is bacterial. This means all you have to do if you are affected by the condition is to be hygienic.
On a social standpoint, “What Are Eye Boogers” is a huge hit on the web with more than 221,000 views on YouTube and over 9,000 likes since its upload on Saturday, March 26, 2016. As of the publication of this article, it is the fifth most popular video on the Popular on YouTube list.
[Image via VivalaVida on deviantART]