Why 'Eye Boogers' Are a Good Thing
Your mom might have called them “the sleepies.” That’s certainly a typically mom way of making them seem quaint and natural. And it turns out that she was right, at least about the natural part.
And they’re necessary, too.
There’s no official medical term for the gunk specifically found in our eyes, but the closest definition would either be “rheum” or “gound.” Whichever of these flattering word you choose to go with, both refer to the accumulation and discharge of bodily byproducts from our ears, nose and eyes -- like mucus, dead skin cells, and dust.
And here comes the necessary part. The mucus and oil from our eyes’ tear film act as a physical barrier against any foreign invaders, like bacteria or dirt, snatching them up every minute we’re alive. Each blink puts our eyelashes to work as window wipers, clearing the tiny bits of gound away.
However, as we sleep, we hardly move our eyelashes, allowing the gunk to build up for a few hours. Gound can range from wet and goopy to dry and sticky, depending on exactly what bad thing our eyes have saved us from that night.
So as you wipe it all away and greet the new day, try to feel a little less annoyed (and maybe a little more grateful). Also, it seems like we could come up with a more flattering name for this morning companion, but that’s a task for another article and another day.