October 01, 2020

What that eye gunk really means

What that eye gunk really means
Dr. Chris Brown

Picking off those unsightly ‘eye boogers’ is a morning routine most of us aren’t proud of. But here’s what they really mean, and why dogs seem to find them so incredibly delicious....

Don’t say you haven’t noticed!

Those little lumps can cause huge amounts of worry for lots of people. In fact, many people think it’s a sure sign of conjunctivitis. But before you get in a funk over the gunk, realise that it’s not always a sign of an issue.

Most of the time, those ‘boogers’ are just the body’s own attempt to bundle up simple dirt, dust or even pollens that have landed in the eye.

The glands around the eye produce extra mucus, causing it all to clump up into such a big ball there’s no way it can slide down their tear duct. So instead, it sits where the world can see it, in the corner of their eye.

To remove it, simply pick it off or use some warm, salty water on a cloth to wipe it away...

So when do you need to worry?

Well, if that eye gunk is yellow or green in colour it can indicate early conjunctivitis. The other important issue is the amount.

One or two lumps of gunk a day are ok.

Any more than this, or if it’s clumping right around their eyelashes, then you may have a more serious issue like dry eye or even something stuck in the eye.

But why do they seem obsessed with eating it?

Eye boogers are high in salt and fat.

So amusingly that makes them appealing to the taste buds. Gross huh. But hey…you asked.

Oh you didn’t? Never mind…


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