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Sleepies: Where Do They Come From?

Eye Boogers, eye junk, crusty eye, gunk, goop, crud, and sleepies. Everyone's got a name for them and everybody's got 'em. So what causes that stuff to collect in the corners of your eye?

There's a special little organ around your eye called the plica semilunaris (sounds like a newly discovered star). This organ was thought to be useless, but lo and behold - it serves a special purpose after all.

It's the crust factory. It secretes a sticky fluid that collects any dust or pollen that has migrated into your eye. All those foreign bits are surrounded by this sticky stuff, so your cornea doesn't get scratched. This little organ "escorts" that garbage out of your eye just like a security guard.

But why do we wake up with them? During the day, your windshield washer eyelashes and tears do the job. When you're asleep, they take a break too.

Join The Conversation
Wise-Ol-Dude Wise-Ol-Dude 10 years
It depends on how much fluid you drink, especially water, each day. If you drink a lot normally, then you will most likely you will not so much thick and gooey stuff. You will just have hard crusted stuff that worked out overnight, then dried upon contact with air. However, if you do not drink much fluid, then you will notice more sticky/gooey matter, even during the day. At night you will still accumulate crusties, but it will possibly have some soft stuff with it still. If you are somewhere that has a lot of dust and debris in the air, then you will most likely experience a greater volume of gunk being expelled. The best thing to do is to drink a lot of water. This will not only help keep your eyes moist and clear, but the stuff that does flush will be more clear and tear like. You will not notice as much of the yellow green mucus type matter.
t0xxic t0xxic 10 years
lol I call it my junk and I chase my kid around bc he thinks boogers are gross but likes to put them on me. ---- I want my way now dangit!
t0xxic t0xxic 10 years
I get the all day all night 24/7 bc thats the life I have to live. My tear duct was ripped out, and I was given an artificial one that doesnt always work well... Sucks for me! Peep it depends on what you come in contact with. A dusty day ur going to get more. During the day its more thin and tear like at night it gets thicker bc u arent constantly blinking it away and it just sits. ---- I want my way now dangit!
peepshow peepshow 10 years
Okay, I got it now. Well that makes sense then. Way to go plica semilunaris!
peepshow peepshow 10 years
I'm more confused than ever. Why doesn't it collect during the day? Does it dissolve? Some days are heavier with the gunk than others... Eew, nevermind, I don't think I even want to know.
Sweet-Adeline Sweet-Adeline 10 years
Love the name --plica semilunaris. Good to know that these little organs sleep at night as they are sure busy during the day.
DStirk DStirk 10 years
i feel like i have a lot of sleepy bugs in the am, but i always think it is because i wear contacts during the day.
rubialala rubialala 10 years
That's interesting. It will come in handy when my little guy asks where they come from! I grew up calling them "sleepy bugs" but my son didn't like the "bugs" part so now we say that he has "sleep" in his eyes.
My-Opinion My-Opinion 10 years
eewww, fit*, that's yucky :ROTFL:
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