Do you ever wake up in the morning feeling like P. Diddy? Just kidding…but seriously do you wake up in the morning with those annoying (and gross) crusties or “sleep” in the corner of your eyes? What causes it and how do you (properly) get rid of it?!
First of all, eye crust is officially called “mattering” or “rheum” by doctors and it’s made up of debris, mucus and dead cells. Yuck. Our eyelids close similarly to the way a zipper closes, starting from the cheek to the nose. As your eyelid shuts it pushes tears across your eye, taking all the debris and dust along the way.
Your eyes produce mucus throughout the day, but with blinking all day, you’re not likely to even notice it. When you’re sleeping, rheum collects in the corner of your eyes and along the lash line, and forms into a crust because your eyes aren’t flushing it out.
Most people get rid of eye crust by wiping their finger in the corner of their eye, but that’s actually not the correct way to do it. Many doctors recommend using a wet, warm washcloth to get rid of eye crust. Simply hold the warm washcloth to your eye to soften the mucus and gently wipe it away. Be sure to wash your hands afterward!
Eye crust can also tell you if you have an infection or not. If you wake up with your eye fully crusted shut, it’s safe to say you most likely have some sort of eye infection. Be aware of any changes that may occur so you know when you seek a doctor.