NOV 16, 2016 02:01 PM PST

The Gross Science Behind Eye Bogies

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

It's pretty easy to spot someone who just woke up. Aside from a groggy disposition, visible telltale signs of a long slumber include bed head, bad breath, and of course, the dreaded eye boogers. What are these formations and why don't we get them when we're awake?

Our peepers, as it turns out, are constantly secreting mucus, known as rheum. When we're awake, blinking helps funnel the gunk to our tear ducts where it gets flushed away. When our eyes are closed for extended amounts of time, as when we're snoozing, the gunk builds up and collects in the corners of the eyes.

Furthermore, the consistency and texture (gross!) of the eye bogies can vary from person to person. Depending on how dry or mucous-y our eyes tend to be, the eye goop can be crusty, crumbly, sticky, to even sandy. How's that for gross science!
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
You May Also Like
SEP 10, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
SEP 10, 2018
Here's How Long it Takes Your Garbage to Decompose
  Humans produce an unbelievable amount of waste, most of which either go on to be recycled or heads to the landfill to decompose. But have you ever w...
SEP 11, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
SEP 11, 2018
Chemistry in Your Cookies: Double Acting Baking Powders
If you are not an avid baker, you can easily mistake baking soda for baking powder.  Although both look white and powder-like, capable of releasing ca...
SEP 13, 2018
Videos
SEP 13, 2018
Antibiotics Are Still Being Over-Prescribed by Some Health Facilities
The opioid abuse problem continues unabated, despite public health efforts to curb the use of narcotic painkillers that can cause dependence and push patie...
SEP 26, 2018
Space & Astronomy
SEP 26, 2018
Do the TRAPPIST-1 Exoplanets Have What it Takes to Support Life?
Among all the extrasolar systems astronomers have discovered to date, the TRAPPIST-1 system is unquestionably one of the most intriguing. Orbiting the host...
OCT 03, 2018
Plants & Animals
OCT 03, 2018
These Weird Fish Live in Some of the Deepest Parts of the Ocean
While animal researchers are reasonably well-rounded about the types of species residing at mild depths, we still have a lot to learn about what inhabits t...
OCT 16, 2018
Videos
OCT 16, 2018
Methane regulations for oil and gas could soon be reduced
The EPA has proposed loosening requirements for testing and repairing methane leaks in drilling operations for oil and gas w...
Loading Comments...