Eye boogers are the dry, crumbly or sticky gobs that can be found around the corner of the eye or one the lashes after a night’s sleep. Some people get eye boogers even when they haven’t slept. While a fairly common phenomenon in humans, dogs and even cats, the field of ophthalmology hasn’t been able to come up with a scientific name for it. In fact, the only technical term that is used by eye doctors to describe what we call “sleep dust”, “eye goop” or “eye boogers” in everyday life is “mattering”.
Ophthalmologists are divided over what exactly causes eye boogers but most of them generally agree that it is the leftover substances from the drying out of tears overnight. Tears are made up of oils, protein, water and a mucous layer called mucin that coats the surface of the eyeball to keep it moist and to prevent bacteria and viruses from attacking the organ. These substances keep wiping the debris that accumulates into the eyes through the blinking process. Usually, everyone gets a little eye gunk though the day and one generally gets rid of it as soon as it comes into notice. At night, however, this gunk just builds up untouched and dries out.
Most people experience dry eye boogers that line the corner of their eyes or lashes after waking up from a night’s sleep while other experience wet and sticky eye boogers through the day. The texture of the eye booger depends on how dry or moistened a person’s eyes tend to be on a daily basis. Eye crud gets a gunkier, wetter quality to it when a person has allergies acting up and their eyes are tearing up more often. Eye gunk is basically harmless and it is perfectly OK to remove it using the tips of one’s fingers.