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mucus in eye

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What is mucus string in eye?

Mucus fishing syndrome (MFS) is a cascading cyclic condition characterized by continuous extraction of mucous strands from the eye.

It is usually initiated by ocular irritation.

In response to irritation, ocular surface cells produce excess mucus. A “snow balling” cycle begins when the patient extracts (“fishes”) excess.

Overview of mucus string in eye

Mucus fishing syndrome is a disease that occurs when one repeatedly “fishes” and tries to take away a small piece of mucus.

This is why it is called mucus fishing syndrome.

Many eye problems are associated with forming mucus.

Depending on how sticky your skin becomes it may appear a good idea to pull on the thread to get off the mucous.

The action of removing the mucus irritates the eye.

You get more mucus out of your eyes.

As you do so, the mucus produces a continuous cycle that removes and stores mucus.

Strings In The Eye-

Mucus Fishing Syndrome

Do you find yourself fishing out strings of white floaters from your eye or eyelid?

Mucus can naturally build up from irritation on the layer of tears that coat the surface of the eye

The first step is to stop pulling it out.

Let them be and definitely don’t touch the eyelid or surface with your fingers

Summary of mucus string in eye

The proper name for it is rheum, but you probably call it sleep.

You might spot cream-colored mucus from time to time.

That’s also normal.

It forms when an irritant, like sand or dirt, gets in your eye .

But eye discharge can signal something you can’t blink or wipe away.

Pinkeye .

Your eyelid is lined with a see-through membrane called the conjunctiva.

It also covers the white part of your eyeball.

This layer is full of tiny blood vessels you normally can’t see.

When they get infected, the whites of your eyes look red.

What do patients notice?

The most common complaint is the presence of stringy mucus that gathers inside the lower eyelid, sticks to the surface of the eye and covers the cornea, interfering with vision.

Some patients also complain of irritable, red and itchy eyes.

Gunk in our eyes could indicate many things.

The main cause of watery eye is not serious.

They can likely go away alone and improve with simple medical treatment.

Having edema or yellow rash on one stye may help reduce blemishes or eye infections in the eye.

Seek medical help when mucuses bother your eyes or affect their function.

Causes of mucus string in eye

Why does it occur?

In most cases a past or ongoing disease triggers excess mucus production.

Common causes include Dry Eye, viral and allergic conjunctivitis, blepharitis and pterygium.

For whatever reason, the eyes produce more mucus and patients naturally clean it away.

Unfortunately, touching the very sensitive tissues on the surface of the eye or inside of the eyelid causes more inflammation and greater mucus production.

The eye Mucus in the eye may build up at the tear ducts or along the lash line and may be yellow or white in one or both eyes.

This will appear differently than the “sleep” that is expelled when sleeping.

Discharge from the eye could be a sign of debris in the eye or of infection such as pink eyes.

If it is persistent, this is cause for concern and you should see an eye doctor

Pink Eye

This when the inner lining of your eyelid and the outer coating of your eye becomes inflamed as a result of a virus.

Bacterial infections and allergic reactions can also cause similar symptoms.

Besides those tell-tale red eyes, you’ll notice itching and increased mucus production.

Pink eye (conjunctivitis) can cause eye discharge to form.

Viral conjunctivitis usually releases a watery discharge, while bacterial conjunctivitis can create a thick green or grey discharge.

Viral conjunctivitis can cause eye irritation, redness, and in some cases may cause the eyes to be red,excessive tear production, redness, and crusty eyelashes, especially in the morning.

It can be a recurring condition.

Eye infections

If you are experiencing symptoms of an eye infection, consult your eye doctorl.

Are red eyes a serious eye concern?

Red eyes can be a sign of minor irritation or something more concerning such as dry eyes or eye infections.

If your red-eye symptoms continue to be present for more than a day, book an appointment with an eye doctor near you.

Thick Green or Gray Mucus string in eye

A thick green or gray mucus discharge could be something serious.

It may mean that you have an eye infection caused by bacteria.

Bacterial conjunctivitis may cause your eyelid to be completely stuck shut when you wake in the morning.

This type of eye infection is caused by pus-producing ( pyogenic ) bacteria.

If you wake up with the feeling of not being able to open your eyes, you could have a bacterial eye infection.

Body focused repetitive behaviors

Body focused repetitive behaviors – A number of disorders related to hair pulling, skin picking and nail biting may also lead to mucus fishing, and these habits can be challenging to manage.

Some patients — especially with trichotillomania (hair-pulling disorder) — have a tendency to pull their lashes out.

This can traumatize the surface of the eye and start the infectious process.


Dacryocystitis is an infection of the tear ducts that may occur due to blockage. It’s more likely to affect infants, but adults can get it, too.

How is mucus fishing syndrome diagnosed?

If it’s difficult to control your nose when you are attempting to look through your eyes, you could have mucus fishing disorder or a serious condition that is dangerous.

The eyes can detect signs of traumatic injuries if they look under their own skin or eyes, but mucus fishing syndrome is sometimes overlooked due to varying symptoms caused by them.

If you think you have an unusual autoimmune condition, you must immediately tell a doctor.

Often people don’t admit to seeing the eye often or even admit it may be causing problems with diagnosis.

Types of mucus string in eye

Yellow Mucus string in eye

Occasionally, the presence of yellow mucus and a nodule can occur.

Some eyelids get clogged with infections that can cause leaky mucus.

If the stain has hit the skin may also be damaged or irritated.

If the bump appears to occur on your eyelid it can become painful to look at (internal hordesolum).

Pus builds up around this stye and causes yellowish spots to appear as an enlarged pimple.

It is easy to force the mucosa from the inside out.

There are other reasons why the system may get infected.

Watery Mucus string in eye

Virus infections may cause watery tear when in combination with mucus.

Viral conjunctivitis may be caused by eyelid swelling, blurred vision and a sensation of sticking in one’s eyes.

The conjunctive disease called pink eye is highly infectious.

Conjunctival virus is an inflammatory disease affecting respiratory tracts and the intestine.

Keep hands sanitized for protection from the infection. Never use towels on someone else’s hands or face unless they are touching you.

Infection is a normal occurrence that resolves itself.

Thick, Crusty Mucus string in eye

Thick swollen lashes are usually caused by the bacteria.

Blepharitis can occur from bacteria on the surface of the skin.

This bacterial pathogen can grow and cause inflammation on eyelids, eyelashes and lashes, and cause redness or pain.

Eye lids can thicken as well as form a dandrill like scale.

Blepharitis is sometimes treated by using a warm compress followed by a brow scrub.

White or Yellow Balls of Mucus string in eye

White or yellow mucous in water stains are common signs for dacirocystitia — an infection within the tears drainage system called the nasolecrimus sac.

If you’re suffering from dacrirocystis, the symptoms might include swelling of the skin, redness and swelling of the nose.

You might see discharges coming from the punctal, an eyelid drainhole.

The infection may be very serious without antibiotics.

Stringy White Mucus string in eye

White musculature can signify an allergy conjunctivitis or eye allergy. If your body had an allergic reaction to irritants or chemicals, your skin would develop. Your doctor may recommend avoiding tears by avoiding cold tears. Artificial tear lubricates the eyes and inhibits the inflammatory response causing snagged eyes. If you develop eye allergies, you may need prescription medication and histamine eye drops.

White Mucus Stringy, white mucus is a sign of allergic conjunctivitis , or eye allergies.

As part of your body’s allergic response, glands in your eye may produce material that sticks together, collecting inside of your eye or under the lower eyelid.

Your doctor might recommend using chilled, over-the-counter, artificial tears several times a day.

Thick Green or Gray Mucus string in eye

Often a greenish grey mucus can have a dangerous effect.

Symptom is eye irritation.

Bacteria conjunctivis can make the eyes close while you wake in the morning.

The eye disease can be created through pyogenic (pituitary) bacteria.

You may be having bacterial eye infections.

Other symptoms can be seen as red eyes and itching eyes.

Conjunctivitis is rare but can cause severe eye redness.

Small dry particles of mucus string in eye

You can wake up with dry eye syndrome.

Human tears are mainly made of liquids or oils.

If your tears are less hydrated, swollen or oily it will dry out.

It is common to get dry eye by using powdered makeup and applying eye drops to eyes, taking fish oil tablets and using cold compressing cream.

Treatments for mucus string in eye

An important step in treating mucus fishing syndrome is to control the underlying condition that is leading to the increased mucus production.

If you’re experiencing constant eye irritation or your eyes feel inflamed, you should contact your eye doctor.

They might recommend using artificial tears or anti-allergy eye drops.

Management of inflammation Excess mucus production occurs because the eye and eyelid are inflamed.

Treating inflammation makes it much easier for patients to stop fishing.

Useful strategies include:

  • Cold compresses
  • Rinsing the eye with refrigerated artificial tears
  • A short course of non-preserved steroid eye drops
  • Break up mucus – The mucolytic drug n-acetylcysteine can be very helpful.
  • Treat underlying conditions The most common causes of MFS that require ongoing management are allergy and Dry Eye.

Treatment with anti-allergy drops such as sodium cromoglycate.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I have stringy mucus in my eyes?

Stringy mucus in the eye can be caused by eye irritations, allergies,  eye infections ( conjunctivitis), dry eyes, blepharitis and more.

How do you get rid of stringy eye mucus?

Treatment for stringy eye mucus is to reduce irritateion, including eye drops, antihistamines,  and reduce contacts with allergens.  Do not touch your eyes with your hands.

Is mucus fishing syndrome common?

Fishing eye syndrome, also called mucus eye syndrome, is a rare disorder that typically affects one eye. It is characterized by excessive mucus production in your eye after a mechanical trauma.

How long does mucus fishing syndrome last?

Fishing eye syndrome lasts until the underlying condition is treated. Often people affected by repeat mucus thread production delay will see an eye specialist, like an optometrist or ophthalmologist, for months or years.

What causes mucus fishing syndrome?

Common causes include Dry Eye, viral and allergic conjunctivitis, blepharitis and pterygium.


Eye discharge, or “gunk in your eyes” can mean several different things. Most of the causes of watery eyes or waking up with mucus in your eyes aren’t serious. They will likely go away on their own or get better with simple home treatments.

However, if you have certain types of eye discharge, like thick, green mucus, a stye with yellow mucus, or yellow drainage coming from the eyelid, have a doctor check your eye. Also see a doctor if the eye discharge is persistent, bothersome, or affects your vision in any way.


The 2011 Earthquake Experience Eye Conditions Allergic Eye Disease Blepharitis Cataract Corneal Disease Dry Eye Iris Melanoma Mucus Fishing Syndrome Ocular Surface Squamous Neoplasia Pterygium Refractive Error Recurrent Corneal Erosion Syndrome Viral Conjunctivitis Other Eye Styes Flashes & Floaters Macular Degeneration For Patients

Hair pulling, skin picking and biting: Body focused repetitive disorder. (n.d.)

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