What Causes You To Have Crusty Eyes In The Morning

Picture this: You are sound asleep when suddenly your alarm goes off; it is time to get up. You stretch over your arm to silence your alarm, and you attempt to open your eyes to look at the time… only to find that your eyes won’t open. This is due to a glue-like substance that is all around your eyelashes.

Sounds Familiar, Right. 

The technical term for this crusty glue-like substance is rheum. However, most people like to call it sleep crust. Some people go far as to call it eye gunk, which seems quite fitting. Rheum is a mixture of skin cells, tears, and mucus and occurs naturally when snoozing. 

Sleep gunk is normal. However, there is a range of everyday sleep crust deposits and sleep crust that might signal something wrong with your eyes.

In this article, you will read all about crusty eyes, their various causes and what symptoms are typical, and when you should seek professional help. 

What Can Be The Causes Of Crusty Eyes

Before we dig around to see the cause of a problem, we need first to understand the problem. So what are crusty eyes? The following symptoms are the common signs of crusty eyes.

  • Eyelashes are stuck together by a glue-like substance that can be either watery or in a solid form. 
  • Experiencing red eyes, hazy vision, or a film-like substance around your eyes when you first try opening them. Accompanied by irritation around your eyes.
  • Yellow, white, or cream-colored crust deposits around the corner of your eyes or on your eyelids. 

Keep on reading to find out more about what kind of eye crust is normal and when you should consult a doctor. 

The Various Causes Of Crusty Eyes In The Morning

The best part is that crusty eyes are pretty common and normal, and the reason you are experiencing this is your body’s incredible self-regulating cleansing system. 

Natural Causes

Let us first begin with the usual causes. You wipe away dust, extra mucus, tears, old cells, etc., by blinking during the day. When you are sleeping, you can’t possibly blink, but your body designed a way to eliminate all the waste products present in your eyes while you sleep.
Most of the time, your eyes stay clean enough, so you don’t experience a crazy amount of eye crust in the morning.

However, some people experience daily cases of crusty eyes. This is because there might be too many waste products in their eyes daily. If you have allergies, you might notice extra eye gunk during certain times of the year or around certain months, etc. Allergies are also a common cause of crusty eyes.


What is Blepharitis? Blepharitis is an eye condition where your eyelids experience inflammation. The causes of blepharitis may be many but crusty eyes in the morning are one of many symptoms of this condition.

If you experience redness, irritation, skin flakes at the base of your eyes, eyelids stuck together, and an extra amount of crusty discharge from your eyes during the night, you are likely suffering from blepharitis. Blepharitis usually affects one eye at a time. 


Any inflammation that affects your conjunctiva with a thin membrane that lines part of your eye is conjunctivitis. 

Both bacterial and viral reasons cause conjunctivitis. Other leading causes of conjunctivitis are allergies and environmental factors. When one suffers from pink eyes, they might notice extra crust buildup around their eyes. This may lead to a watery discharge buildup in your eyes, leading to a gritty feeling between your eyelids.

Eye Stye

What is an eye stye? Styes are nothing but inflamed oil glands and follicles in your eyelids. A style can be painful and can cause considerable swelling in your eyes and lots of watery discharge, leading to a yellow mucus buildup around your eyes.

Blocked Tear Duct

If you have a blocked tear duct, it will lead to a blockage, stopping your eyes from draining as it naturally does. People suffering from this condition might notice small yellow or white ball-shaped crust deposits around their eye corners. Other symptoms of blocked tear ducts are redness, irritation, painful swelling, etc. 

Dry Eye


Dry eyes mean having less moisture in your eyes to combat this problem. Your eyes naturally produce watery substances, which in turn can lead to a string-like mucus collecting in your eyes. The mucus can further result in the accumulation of eye gunk that is sticky and gritty. Irritation and itching are the common symptoms of dry eyes. 

How To Treat Eye Crust


The first step to treating eye crust deposits is not touching or removing the eye crust immediately after walking up. Most people have a habit of rubbing their eyes in the morning, do not do this. Wash your hands before you touch your eyes; otherwise, the bacteria in your hands might worsen the situation. 

Wash your eyes with regular water to get rid of all the eye crust and gunk. This should be enough to treat the standard eye crust. Another option is to use hydrating eye drops. These provide your eyes with all the necessary hydration and will get rid of any remaining dirt deposits.


There you have it, all there is to know about eye crust and its causes. Make sure you read the many causes of eye crust formation, and in the case you have a condition that does not sound normal, make sure to consult your doctor.