What your Eye Gunk Means

  • Posted on: Jul 15 2018
  • By:

Blocked Tear Ducts St. George, UTEvery minute your eyes blink 10-20 times. This process allows the eye a few milliseconds of moisture and protection. As we sleep, our eyes aren’t able to blink any gunk away as they normally would. As a result, the gunk accumulates in the corners of the eyes next to the nose. This substance is known as rheum, and usually called sleep. Occasionally you may also spot a white colored mucus. This forms when there is a speck of dust or other irritant that gets into the eye. Unfortunately, not all eye gunk can be simply wiped away. Sometimes it is indicative of a more serious eye issue like a corneal ulcer, dry eye, pinkeye, or a blocked tear duct.

Corneal Ulcer

The formation of a corneal ulcer is incredibly rare, but it can happen. The cornea is what covers the pupil and iris. A corneal ulcer occurs when there is extreme dry eye or an eye infection, which can both result in discharge.

Dry Eye

Tears are a wondrous substance produced by the human boy to protect and moisten the eye. They are made up of antibodies, water, oils, and mucus. This specific combination of ingredients must always stay in balance in order for the eyes to receive the proper protection and moisture they require for optimum health. If the eye fails to produce enough tears, the nervous system responds by sending emergency tears. These tears are only temporarily helpful because they do not provide the same balance of ingredients as normal tears. The result is excess discharge.

Blocked Tear Duct

When a tear duct is blocked, the tear exit fails to drain tears. The result is an eye infection that creates discharge.


On top of your eye is a see through film called the conjunctiva. It covers the entire surface of the eye including the white part of the eyeball. The conjunctiva is covered in tiny blood vessels. If these become irritated or infected, the whites of the eye take on a red or pink color. This condition also produces excessive eye discharge.

Arrange an appointment

For more information about how to maintain proper eye health, contact Richen Eye Center at 435.986.2020 (St. George), 435.628.1112 (St. George on Sunset Blvd), or 702-346-2950 (Mesquite).

Posted in: Eye Conditions

Call or Text
(435) 986-2020

Get Directions
Three Locations

Blog Posts

New FDA-Approved Treatment For Glaucoma Now Available at Richens Eye Center

New FDA-Approved Treatment for Glaucoma Now Available in Southern Utah Richens Eye Center Offers Sustained-Release Medication to Reduce Intraocular Pressure in Patients With Glaucoma or Ocular Hypertension St. George, UT - Richens Eye Center is offering Southern Utah and Nevada ...Read More »

What is strabismus and how is it treated?

Monitoring one’s eye and vision health is incredibly important to ensure that patients do not experience permanent vision loss, infection, and other conditions that can significantly impact one’s day-to-day activities. Many eye conditions that can develop are progressive, meaning that ...Read More »

Have A Question?
Contact Us

  • Date Format: MM slash DD slash YYYY
  • * All indicated fields must be completed.
    Please include non-medical questions and correspondence only.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.