Why Do We Get Eye Boogers?

I like to think the boogers that wield your
eyes shut in the morning is your body’s way of saying you don’t need to open them
for 5 more minutes. Hi everyone, it’s Julian here for you at
DNews. Ok, so they aren’t actually boogers, but
you know that crusty stuff in the corner of your eye when you wake up? Some people call it sleep, or rheum, or gound. And believe it or not, it serves a purpose. Dry and crusty, gunky or goopy, eye discharge
in small amounts is a normal part of waking up. This combination of mucus, oil, skin cells
and other debris in your eye serves as a protective shield and allows the eye to function properly. So let’s get technical for a second: the
eyes of mammals are covered by a multi-layer film that helps them do what they’re supposed
to do. Closest to the cornea — the transparent
front part of the eye — is a layer of mucin. Mucin is made up of protein that scientists
think helps clear debris and pathogens from the eye. On top of that is the aqueous layer, which
makes up 90% of your eye’s coating. This is a water-based tear solution only about
as thick as a single strand of spider silk, which serves many functions, including keeping
our eyes hydrated and protects against infection. The last outer layer is called the lipid layer. It is made of an oily substance called meibum,
a key part of which are fatty acids. When you’re awake, your body temperature
keeps that layer oily, but at night when you sleep, the body cools, and some of the meibum
becomes a dry solid – forming the basis of the eye gunk that you’re used to. Continuous blinking throughout the day allows
a film of tears to wash away the rheum from our eyes, but when we’re asleep, we aren’t
blinking. [unless you’re a chronic sleepwalker]. According to research publish by the British
Journal of Ophthalmology, sleep relaxes the muscles in our eyes, causing the excess meibum
to seep out onto our eyelids and lashes. Think of it like a zipper – from the edge
of your face in toward the nose. As the eyelid closes, it pushes the material
collected under the lid into the corner and dries out overnight. But why do we produce meibum at all? Well first, the oily juices prevent us from
crying constantly, unless we get our feelings hurt, holding tears in place. It also keeps our eyes hydrated. A study published in the journal Experimental
Eye Research found that rabbits’ eyes, when lacking meibum, lost water through evaporation
much faster than the normal rate. Call it annoying or disgusting, but the stuff
that glues your peepers together in the morning is perfectly normal and important. And you can be proud to say ‘I woke up like
this’. We’re just gonna keep rolling. I’m just going to keep going. So now you know about eye boogers, but what
about nose boogers. What happens if you…eat them. Yeah, gross, right? I covered that in this video. What do you think? Do eye boogers gross you out? Let us know in the comments, subscribe for
more, and I’ll see you guys next time on DNews.


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