Learn More About Mucus Fishing Syndrome

TikTok's and Instagram's latest viral trend is another. This one's just as difficult to ignore as it is to see. Users are shown fishing in their eye for mucus with cotton swabs and their fingers. Only to realize that mucus is returning in huge amounts in the videos. The mucus-fishing syndrome is a cyclical phenomenon that can cause eye irritation and is often considered a health risk. Rony Sayegh MD, Ophthalmologist, discusses why this is a bad habit to have.

How can I prevent Mucus Fishing Syndrome from happening?

You have an eye protective coating made up of tears and mucus. If your eyes aren't protected, they can dry out and crack like chapped lips. Your eyelids can slide easily over your eyes thanks to this lubrication, without causing any damage.

Dr. Sayegh says that mucus contains many substances which protect eyes from infection with viruses, bacteria and fungi.

Your eye may become inflamed if you try to fish out the eye's mucus. The eye naturally produces more mucus as a protective layer and makes up the difference. You can create more by constantly fishing out the excess mucus.

This condition often develops from untreated medical conditions.

Dry eye

When your tears do not provide sufficient lubrication, your eyes may become dry and itchy. Inflamed eyes (blepharitis) can be sometimes associated with dry eyes. You will experience an increase in the amount of emergency tears and excessive mucus. This is the most frequent condition that can be associated with mucus fisher syndrome, says Dr. Sayegh. Dry eye can be a chronic condition, which can cause itchy, scratchy eyes, and an increase in mucus production. This can lead to the entire cycle of mucus fishiing, he says.

Pink eye (Conjunctivitis)

The most common type of eye infection is pink eye. This happens when your outer eye coating and inner lining become inflamed from a virus. Similar symptoms can be caused by allergic reactions or bacterial infections. Other than the red eyes you will notice, itching and an increase in mucus production are also common symptoms.

Repetitive, body-focused behaviors

Mulcus fishing may be caused by a number of conditions, such as hair pulling and skin picking. These habits are difficult to control. "Some patients with trichotillomania (hair pulling disorder) have a tendency pull their eyelashes out," Dr. Sayegh said. This can cause damage to the cornea and increase the production of mucus as the eyes try to heal themselves.

What is Mucus Fishing Syndrome?

Mucus fishing syndrome is a condition where you constantly reach out for your eyes to remove mucus and then have problems controlling it. Although they may see evidence of trauma to your eyes, the mucus-fishing syndrome often goes undiagnosed due to the many conditions that can cause it. This syndrome is serious and you should tell your doctor if this happens. Dr. Sayegh states that "Unfortunately some patients might not be able to admit touching their eyes often or may even refuse it. This can make diagnosing the syndrome more complicated."

What are the Risks of Mucus Fishing

Even though the long-term implications of mucus fishing remain unclear, they can lead to serious infections and eye injury.

Eye infections could result from repeated trauma to the fingers if they are not washed. Scarring on the outer side or the inner eyelids can also happen.

What can you do to treat mucus fishing syndrome?

Dr. Sayegh states that it is important to treat mucus-fishing syndrome by addressing the underlying cause. Your doctor should be contacted if you experience constant irritation to your eyes or a burning sensation in your eyes. To treat various conditions such as mucus fishing syndrome, your doctor might suggest anti-allergy or artificial tear drops.

Smartwatches apps and wristbands can vibrate when they touch your face. They have not been used for mucus fishing but can be helpful in reminding you to keep your hands off your eyes and to help with your behaviour.

Dr. Sayegh states that it is crucial to not touch your eyes when trying to stop the progression of the disease.