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
JUL 17, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
JUL 17, 2018
The Chemistry in Airbags
The name "airbag" can be deceiving because the bag is not exactly filled with air. Instead, this life-saving device is filled with nitrogen gas,...
JUL 25, 2018
Videos
JUL 25, 2018
How Dangerous is a Lightning Strike to an Airplane?
Lightning frequently strikes airplanes as they fly through the clouds thousands of feet above the Earth’s surface, but is there any reason for airpla...
JUL 30, 2018
Videos
JUL 30, 2018
Is it Good to Open Your Windows During a Hurricane?
You might’ve heard the idea that opening your windows during a hurricane can reduce the stress on your home’s roof and walls as it’s bein...
AUG 10, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
AUG 10, 2018
The Chemistry in Yellowstone's Deadly Hot Springs
The Yellowstone National Park is famous for its geysers and the hydrothermal system otherwise known as the hot springs. But such spectacular landscape hide...
AUG 11, 2018
Videos
AUG 11, 2018
GMO Crop Ban Rescinded
Genetically modified crops that use neonic pesticides can now be planted in wildlife refuges....
AUG 15, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
AUG 15, 2018
What's So Special About Polarized Sunglasses?
Glare could cause discomfort in the eyes, even disability. To reduce the glare, one can try to reduce overall luminance, say by putting on a pair of generi...
Loading Comments...