Dr. Jim Martin 06/02/2014

crusty_eyes_waking_up.jpgDo you wake up in the morning with crusty residue on or around your eyes? Have you ruled out the sandman as a possible culprit? In reality, this could be a symptom of many different eye conditions. Some of the most common causes have been listed below.

What Are Some Causes Of Crusty Eyes?

Eye Infection: An eye infection is one of the most common causes of waking up with crustiness each night. Some other possible symptoms of an eye infection are: pain in your eye, a sensation of having a foreign body in your eye, discoloration of the eye and the eyelids, an increased sensitivity to light, fever, and blurred or decreased vision.

Infections are usually caused by irritation or injury to your eye. While they can start as a minor infection, without proper treatment, they can escalate quickly, especially if you are a contact lens wearer.

Pink Eye: Pink Eye, also known as conjunctivitis, is a condition when the conjunctiva becomes red and swollen. (The conjunctiva is a mucus membrane that lines the eyelid and the surface of the eye). Pink eye is usually caused from viral or bacterial infections, dry eyes, allergies, or wind, sun, and chemical exposure. Some other common symptoms of pink eye are: swollen eyelids, redness in the white part of your eye, an itching or burning sensation, pain, and white, yellow, or grayish drainage. Pink eye is fairly common and will go away on its own within 7 to 10 days; however, it is highly contagious.

Allergies: Allergic conjunctivitis can occur when your eyes are exposed to something your body is allergic to. This will cause drainage during the night which will turn into crusty evidence on your eyes in the morning. Many people are allergic to pollens in the air which can travel in greater distances and in higher number on hot, dry, and windy days. You may even be allergic to your pillow filling or laundry detergent. Some common symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis are: intense burning or itching in your eye, puffy or swollen eyelids, redness of the eye, and excessively watery eyes.

Dry Eye: Dry eyes, whether occasional or chronic, can cause you to wake up with crusty eyes. Dry eye occurs when your eyes don't produce enough tears to adequately moisturize your eyes or if you produce poor-quality tears that also can't get the job done. Some common symptoms of dry eye are: eye fatigue, a stinging, itching, or burning sensation, increased sensitivity to light, blurred vision that is often worse at night, redness, and periods of excessive tearing. Wind, sun, and other environmental exposure is a common cause of dry eye, as well as insufficient periods of blinking, such as staring at a computer screen for an extended amount of time. Some other risk factors that will affect your ability to produce tears are: people over the age of 50, postmenopausal women, people who have had laser surgery, and people with tear gland damage.

Is There Anything I Can Do For Crusty Eyes?

Eye infections, pink eye, allergies, and dry eye can all present mild symptoms that don't require treatment. However, there are many other possible causes for your current crust situation. It is never a good idea to take a chance with your eyes, as conditions can worsen very quickly and it is your vision that is at stake. If your crusty morning eyes continue or you have any other symptoms listed above, you should contact the friendly eye care specialists at Broome Optical to schedule an appointment today.

Guest Blogger, Dr. Mai-Vy Hoang
Graduated from West Texas A&M
Graduated from University of Houston College of Optometry with a Doctorate Degree in Optometry.
Northeastern Oklahoma State University College of Optometry  

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