What’s the Deal with Eye Boogers?

what causes eye boogers

Eye boogers…everyone gets ‘em, but does anyone actually know anything about them? We mean, besides the fact that they’re a dead give-away that you’ve just woken up. In this piece, we’re going to explore all the nitty-gritty, lesser known facts of the mysterious eye booger, including what they are, why we get them, and if they’re a sign of eye trouble.

Eye Boogers and Their Many Names

The scientific term for what we casually refer to as eye boogers is actually rheum, which refers to any watery discharge from either the eye, nose or mouth while sleeping. To get even more technical, when rheum discharges specifically from the eye, it’s called gound. We’ve never heard anyone actually refer to them as such, and we’re guessing you haven’t either. That said, they do have a lot of other names, like eye gunk, sleepies, sleep dust and crusties — all equal lovely, no?

What Causes Them?

Eye boogers are made up from a handful of different things, namely skin cells, oils, mucus, and dust. Now, these perfectly natural bits don’t accumulate as eye boogers while you’re awake thanks to the simple magic of blinking. Each time you blink, your eye is refreshed with tears, which carry off the microscopic particles. But when you sleep—and the blinking goes on hiatus, there’s nothing to carry them off. Instead, they form together into goopy bits and get pushed into the corners or lash lines of the eye—and then you wash or pick them out come morning.

What Purpose do they Serve?

Once you understand what sleepies are made of, it’s pretty easy to see their purpose. Think of them like a cleaning device, transforming all the unneeded gunk in your eyeball into convenient little crusties that can be swept out come morning with a little splash of water on the face. They’re certainly not glamourous — but at least they’re making their way out of the eyeball, allowing it to remain clean and healthy.

Are They a Sign of Eye Troubles?

As you probably suspect, eye boogers aren’t harmful. They’re super common and again, really a natural cleansing tool of the body. That said, excessive eye boogers can be a sign of a larger issue at work in the eyeball. In many cases, they can be a sign of infection, such as pink eye. Such infections also tend to cause eye boogers to be more yellow or green in color. For anyone who’s ever suffered from pink eye, they’re likely to recall waking up with an eyeball that is nearly sealed from the amount of crusties covering it. Eye infections may also have accompanying tenderness, pain, or vision changes/difficulty.

An overabundance of eye boogers doesn’t necessarily point to an infection though — it might just be a symptom of allergies. As anyone who has them knows, allergies can wreak havoc on the eyes. Common symptoms include itchy, red and dry eyes, and loads of eye boogers upon waking.

What to Do if You Have Too Many Sleepies

If you find yourself waking up with a more than usual amount of crusties, it’s a good idea to give your eye doc a ring. On the chances that you do have an underlying infection, you’ll want to start treatment for it right away before it can cause any further damage to your eyes, or even your eyesight.

While pink eye is a fairly common and treatable infection, there are loads more that need to be nipped in the bud as soon as possible. Of course, you’ll want to get rid of the eye boogers before leaving the house. For this, the best thing to do is use a wet, warm compress to gently soften the eye debris.  Then, you can carefully wipe them away with the damp cloth.

And just like that, the great mystery of eye boogers is revealed at last. Don’t you feel smarter already?

The Most Fashionable Frames Through the Decades

most fashionable frames through the decades

The invention of eyeglasses was a total game-changer, as you can imagine. These accessories have undergone a huge transformation since their early days in the 13th century, when they were little more than leather and glass resting carefully on the tip of one’s nose. In this post, we’ll explore the most fashionable frames from every decade, beginning in the 1900’s.

1900-1920

The most popular style of frames during this twenty-year span was pince-nez. Hailing from France, the name translates to “pinch nose”. This style is actually really similar to the earliest frames created centuries before. They didn’t have any arms, but rather sat precariously on the bridge of the nose, just as the name suggests.

Of course, this style created some practical problems. For starts, these frames were known for falling off and breaking easily. Some wearers started using thin chains, which wrapped around the neck, to prevent this from happening. We’re guessing they still fell off, but at least they didn’t crash onto the floor and break. The solution was sound, at any rate, as chains are still used for reading glasses today!

1930

The pince-nez was still popular during the 1930’s, though they started to become less fashionable. The older crowd continued to wear them, but a wholly new and hip style rolled onto the scene: thin round frames. They were made from a delicate plastic, which meant they were still fragile. The style was popularized by Hollywood types and from there trickled down to the general population. Tortoise shell was especially popular.

It’s worth noting that this new style had arms, which we’re guessing was a huge relief ‒ and perhaps why they were so easily accepted by folks.

1940

While the ‘30s may have been all about small, tight, round frames, the ‘40s took some fun liberties with size. Fashionable frames became larger and more rectangular shaped, a fairly big departure from the previous decade’s roundness. As plastic manufacturing grew, frames also became available in just about any color.

One particular style that gained popularity during the ‘40s used plastic along the browline and glass on the bottom ‒ a style now popular again today.

Check out this quick video from the 1940’s describing how a woman can utilize her glasses to enhance her natural features. This content put the theory out there that glasses could, indeed, be fashionable:

 

1950

The most iconic frame of the 1950’s was, hands down, the cat eye. The ‘40s may have been all about adding color, but the ‘50s took it one step further and totally rewrote the shape. The cat eye’s sweeping corners were fashion darlings, worn by celebrities and school teachers alike.

1960-1970

The free-wheeling 1960’s had another take on eyewear, which can be divided into two main camps: oversized bug-eye frames and rimless, round wire ones. They may have been opposites, but they had one thing in common ‒ they certainly made a fashion statement.

Oversized bug-eye frames were super mod, and were all about bold, geometric shapes and styles. On the other hand, the rimless, round frames were a popular choice for the flower childs and hippies of that era. These tended to use fun, colorful lenses, like blue and yellow for sunglasses in particular.

1980

This decade took a throw-back stance, borrowing the most popular shapes and styles from the previous eras. One could get away with donning cat eye frames while his or her friend favored the boxy, geometric style of the ‘60s. The ‘80s were a catch-all for the best of what came out of each previous generation, although the pince-nez did not reemerge (which surprises exactly no one…).

1990

The ‘90s did something kinda fun when it came to eyewear: they borrowed the simple wire frames of the 1930’s and enlarged them. Glasses wearers also played around with shape in the ‘90s. While round was really popular, oval shaped frames shared the spotlight. That said, both styles erred on the thin side, whether metal or plastic.

2000-now

For the past 10+ years, it’s been hard to pinpoint the most fashionable frame. Eclectic tastes draw from every period; vintage reigns supreme, and tastes are not limited to a specific decade. While the ‘80s shared this hodgepodge, borrowing vibe, it wasn’t quite to the extent it is today. When shopping for frames, you’re likely to see a pair in nearly every shape/style listed above!

What Does it Mean if There are Floaters in My Eyes?

what does it mean when there are floaters in my eyes

Have you ever noticed a mysterious, squiggly dark line appear when staring at something “blank,” like the sky or a white wall? If so, then you’ve likely got an eye floater. They can take on different shapes, but most people describe them as a dark (black or gray) spot or line that drifts around your eyeball as it moves. You can get a feel for what these look like from our eyesight simulator.

Most people don’t always notice them —again, they really only become apparent when you’re staring at something large, empty surface, like the examples mentioned above. But what do eye floaters actually mean? Are they a cause for concern? Keep reading while we shed some light on this hugely common eye issue.

Relax, They’re Not Uncommon

Most people have eye floaters, which should make you take a deep sigh of relief. If you have them, you’re not alone! In fact, they’re so common that by the age of 70, almost everyone has them. But again, what do they actually mean?! Why do you see these annoying darting lines in the first place? To understand this, you’ve first got to understand a few basics about the physical properties of the eyeball…

Eyeballs & Eye Floaters 101

A large portion of the eyeball is made up of the vitreous humor. This is a clear, gel-like material that is sandwiched between the retina (in back) and the lens (upfront). It’s made up of about 98-99 percent water, with just a touch of salts, sugars and collagen filling in the remaining one or two percent. The vitreous gel must be lear in order for vision to work properly — light needs to be able to pass through from the lens to the retina in order for your brain to process what you’re seeing out there in the world.

As we age, the gel-like consistency of the vitreous humor breaks down, becoming more like a liquid. This happens slowly over time and is mostly an inevitable part of aging. This, in a nut shell, is how eye floaters are formed. As the vitreous humor gel is dissolved, the area becomes more of a watery consistency. But not all the gel will dissolve at once. The leftover bits of gel, which float around in the liquid, are what we know as eye floaters. They’re essentially microscopic clumps of undissolved, stringy fibers that are housed in the vitreous humor.

Something interesting and worth noting is that the floaters you see aren’t actually the gel that’s moving around in the liquid areas. Those stray lines and specks we see are just the shadows they create.

When are They Cause for Concern?

As mentioned, eye floaters are bound to pop up from time to time as you age, and they never really go away. Most people complain about them being annoying (to which we wholeheartedly agree), but they don’t pose any danger to your eyeball or eyesight. They’re really just a menace. Most people eventually learn to ignore them. It’s pretty rare to require any treatment for them.

That said, it’s important to know that a sudden cluster of eye floaters – particularly those accompanied by a flash of light or vision loss – are a cause for concern. If you’re having these symptoms, you should seek medical attention right away. These symptoms may be sign of a retinal detachment or tear or bleeding in the eyeball. You’ll want to see an ophthalmologist immediately so that a diagnosis can be made and treatment can begin. Otherwise, you risk suffering from permanent vision loss.

Of course, knowing what eye floaters actually mean don’t make them any less bothersome. The best thing you can do is just try to ignore them – which, yes, we realize is an annoying answer to an annoying problem. But hey, eventually all your friends will have them, too, so you can commiserate with company.

Ideas for Work You Can do Offline to Reduce Computer Eye Strain

ways to reduce computer eye strain

Most of us spend a lot of time staring at a screen – especially those of us who work in an office. Those 8+ hours of screen time daily can cause computer eye strain, also known as Computer Vision Syndrome. Related symptoms like dry eyes can be particularly irksome on days where the workload is extra intense or stressful. If you also use a smartphone or tablet throughout your day, you’re a prime candidate for eye strain.

Computer Vision Syndrome is unfortunately quite common among working professionals. Symptoms may include:

  • Itchy eyes
  • Burning eyes
  • Neck or back aches
  • Tired eyes
  • Blurry vision
  • Red eyes
  • Headaches

The easiest way to reduce eye strain is to simply get off the screen, but for those whose jobs require an Internet connection, that may seem an impossible feat. Key words: may seem. In this piece, we’ve brainstormed ways to give the typical working professional a break from their computer without actually breaking from work. That’s right — your eyes and your boss can both be happy! Keep reading for some great ideas of offline work you can accomplish to reduce computer eye strain.

  1. Pick up the phone

You have an office phone, sure, but how often do you really use it? These days, most of us communicate by email, which is wonderfully quick and convenient. That said, studies have estimated that the average worker spends somewhere between 10 and 15 hours each week on email alone — reading, responding, deleting, sorting… and it never really seems to stop, does it? Just as soon as you whittle down your inbox, a new avalanche seems to pour right in.

While email is estimated to grow in use over the coming years, you still have that telephone. Instead of emailing back and forth over an issue, simply pick it up and have a real-time conversation. You’ll not only find a resolve more quickly, but you’ll save your eyes tons of hours from focusing on the screen. A double win!

  1. De-clutter your workspace

When most of our work takes place online, the innards of desk drawers and cabinets are often left forgotten. Old paperwork, notes, and random files have a way of building up into small mountains without us ever even realizing it.

Spending time to clean and de-clutter your desk, drawers, and filing cabinets has a ton of benefits. It’s a great way to stay productive while also giving your eyes a break from the computer screen. You’ll make your space healthier by eliminating dust and other allergens, and in the process, your work space will become the envy of messy desk keepers everywhere.

  1. Meet in person

Alongside email, chat messaging services have become a staple in the workplace. They’re a great way for colleagues to get quick answers from one another without having to actually move or disrupt workflow. Still, this is just another way we are staying glued to our screens. The next time you have a question for a peer, go ask them in person. Besides giving your eyes a screen break, you’ll also get to know people around the office better.

  1. Pick up a book…or print it

The advent of ebooks and readily available PDFs means we do a lot of reading on a screen. This is great for the sake of the environment, but sometimes it’s too much for our eyes. The next time you have a lengthy article, white paper, or book to read through, opt for the printed version. This will give you some quality time away from your screen while you are still able to increase your knowledge and get a leg up on the competition. To be eco-friendly, be sure to print double-sided and pass the book or print-out along to another peer when you’re finished, so it can get a few more uses out of it before it hits the recycling bin!

  1. Brainstorm your next big idea

There is a reason why some of the best ideas come to you in the shower. The monotonous routine of bathing allows us to put our actions on autopilot, so that we become less aware of our environment and more aware of our internal thoughts. Whether you work as a solo freelancer or within a department at a large company, dedicating 10-20 minutes a day to thinking more about the “big picture” can be highly beneficial. This time allows you to create and rework winning strategies and creative initiatives that can push your agenda forward. Stepping away from the computer means breaking away from the routine of daily activity to think more about long-term and out-of-the-box tactics and solutions.

What do you do when your eyes need a break at work? The 20-20-10 rule is a good staple, but sometimes our eyes need to rest for longer. Adapting some of these tasks into your weekly routine may not only provide relief to eye strain, but can and also improve your work day overall!

5 Freaky Eye Parasites You’ll Definitely Want to Avoid

types of eye parasites

If you’re eating, we suggest you stop. As if the word “parasites” isn’t enough to make your stomach churn, we’re about to discuss eye parasites. Yes, that’s a thing. A very real, belly-turning thing. As you’ll soon find out, these parasites don’t necessarily start in your eyeball, which honestly, somehow makes the whole notion more disturbing. In some instances, they slowly crawl their way up into it from others parts of your body. Keep reading for 5 of the freakiest eye parasites we hope you never, ever run into.

  1. Baylisascaris procyonis

Quite the mouthful, this parasite is commonly referred to as the raccoon roundworm. That’s because it’s primary host is, you guessed it, a raccoon. In fact, it’s estimated that up to 90% of juvenile and 70% of adult raccoons carry this virus. So how does it come in contact with humans? While it’s rare, it’s often through feces left in soil.

Once this parasite finds its way into a host, it migrates its way towards the brain after hatching in the gut. This is how it can end up in the eyeball. It can move fairly quickly, too — it can take as little as three days to make this move up into the eyeball or brain, where it will begin eating away at the tissue. In the eyeball specifically, it will begin to eat away at the retina and optic nerve, causing blindness. A baylisascaris procyonis prognosis is devastating, and can often lead to death.

  1. Larvae — fly, gnat, maggot

Not nearly as exotic or strange as the raccoon roundworm, most of us have had plenty of run-ins with flies, gnats and maggots. Generally benign, they’re mostly just an annoyance. But for a few unlucky folks, they’ve caused a lot of trouble. While it’s a fairly uncommon occurrence, they can lay eggs in the eyeball. If the eggs stay around long enough to hatch — well, you’ve now got a larva…in your eyeball. It will begin eating the surrounding eyeball tissue for nutrients. The best way to treat it is simply to remove it via medical procedure.

  1. Loa loa worm

The loa loa worm is also known as the eye worm. It hails from India and Africa. Once they enter a host, through a cut for instance, they feast on the underlying tissue. It travels throughout the body, underneath the skin. As it moves, it cause redness and inflammation. Once in the eyeball, it will cause swelling. Treatment for the loa loa worm can include medication, prescribed by a doctor, or surgical removal — even from within the eyeball.

  1. Toxocariasis

This term covers a range of roundworms, including the dog roundworm, cat roundworm, and fox roundworm. Contamination usually occurs from unknowingly ingesting the parasite. This can happen from drinking contaminated water or eating unwashed vegetables or infected meats that haven’t been fully cooked.

If even a single larva makes its way into the eyeball, it can begin to cause serious damage. Symptoms include redness, a white pupil, inflammation, and a fixed pupil. As it progresses, vision will be lost. This can take days or weeks to occur. The damage is usually permanent and can lead to total blindness.

  1. Onchocerciasis

Another tough one to pronounce, this parasite is also called African river blindness. While you may not have ever heard of this parasitic worm, it’s actually the second leading cause of blindness, due to infection. It’s usually found in sub-Sahara Africa, though cases have also occurred in Central and South America. It spreads through the bites of black flies, which live near rivers. It takes several bites for infection to occur. Treatment typically is just a prescription medication which stops the worm from reproducing, eventually causing it to die off.

The majority of these parasites may enter the system unknowingly. But as always, if you find yourself experiencing strange or unusual symptoms related to your eye health or vision, make a trip to your eye doctor as early as possible!