When you wake up in the morning you may sometimes notice white colored mucus or gunk that has gathered at the corner of your eye near your nose. This is normal. During the night this mucus forms when there is a foreign speck or dirt in the eye. Sometimes, eye discharge is something more than merely a an eye irritant you can wipe away. In some cases it can suggest a larger problem like pinkeye, dry eye, a corneal ulcer, or blocked tear duct.
Blocked Tear Duct
Above your eyeball sits a tear gland that releases fluid across the eye when you blink. These tears drain into the ducts at the corner of your eyes near your nose. If that exit is inhibited, the fluid is stuck. The result is an eye infection which can lead to discharge.
The conjunctiva is a see through membrane that lines each eye. It is filled with minuscule blood vessels. When these blood vessels get infected, the eye turns red or pink, resulting in a pinkeye look. Pinkeye can be the result of allergies, a viral infection, or a bacterial infection. This can also produce unwanted discharge at the eye.
A corneal ulcer is uncommon, but it can occur when there is an extreme case of dry eye or an eye infection. The cornea is what covers the iris and pupil. A corneal ulcer can create discharge in the eye.
Tears are an incredible substance that is made up of oils, mucus, antibodies, and water. If the balance of ingredients in your tears is off, dry eye can result or your eyes can stop producing tears. If the eyes fail to get sufficient fluid for proper moisture and protection, the nervous system will respond by sending more tears. These emergency tears do not have the same structure as normal tears, which can lead to the formation of additional mucus and eye gunk.