ZocdocAnswersWhat should I do for the strange mucus forming on my eye overnight?

Question

What should I do for the strange mucus forming on my eye overnight?

I'm an 18 your old male and no one in my family has experienced this before. Every morning, when I wake up, there is a strange, gummy mucus on my eyes and eyelids. Sometimes it even clings to my eyelashes and prevents me from opening my eyes until I clean them off. It washes off with water. My eyes are also red, but this wears off throughout the day. I have no allergies and this has only been happening for a week. Should I just wait until it goes away?

Answer

You are describing some of the common symptoms of the very contagious condition known as pink eye, or infective conjunctivitis. The copious amounts of discharge that you are describing makes me think that you could possibly have the bacterial variant, although the viral vector is a much more common route of transmission, especially among adults such as yourself. For this reason, you should speak with your primary care physician to determine what, if any treatment is recommended. Bacterial conjunctivitis resolves quickly with simple eye drops. Viral conjunctivitis has no cure, but usually goes away in just about the same amount of time as the common cold (and is often another manifestation of the same). If you are having any other eye symptoms, especially including changes in your vision, this issue becomes much more serious and you will need to be seen immediately. Otherwise, given the highly contagious nature of this condition, you should plan on more of your family members having a first contact with this disease. Please wash your hands often, and avoid touching your eyes or face to decrease the spread. Your primary care doctor will be able to advise you further on the appropriate treatment.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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