For most people, the salt produced by tears gets left behind on the edges of the eyes, where it can easily be wiped away by hand or with a washcloth. But there are times when things don't go according to plan, and this tear byproduct can get stuck in or under your tear duct. If this has been happening to you frequently, it may mean that there's an issue with your tear ducts. Here's what you should know.
What's Meant By Stuck
To be clear, this guide is referring to bits of sleepy sand, scientifically known as dried rheum. When you blink your eyes after a long night's sleep, tears wash over your eyes and this byproduct tends to flow out and adheres to the edges of your eyelids. While this can be annoying, it's not the same thing as it getting stuck under your tear duct.
The tear duct is the innermost corner of the eye. When dried rheum gets stuck there, it should feel like a grain of salt or sand is stuck under the corner of the skin and unable to come out. Rubbing it won't dislodge it, and may irritate your tear duct further. If this is happening to you, read on to find out what's happening.
Why It's Like That
Tear ducts actually don't produce tears, contrary to popular belief. Instead, they act as a drainage channel, funneling away excess tears out of your eyes and down into the nasal passageway.
However, if the tear duct isn't healthy for one reason or another, this process may not work properly. This can be due to a variety of things, like infection, inflammation, or a foreign body creating irritation. While the tear duct is in this condition, the morning tears try to drain through it, but will likely have a narrower path to do so. As a result, little grains of dried rheum can get stuck in the tear duct and create this irritated or painful feeling.
What to Do
If this is a persistent issue, then it likely means that you either have an ongoing or recurring problem with your tear duct. If the tear duct can't drain properly, it can allow things like dust and dirt to accumulate in your eye, which is dangerous for your vision. The best thing you can do here is to visit an eye doctor.
They'll take a close look at your eyes and your tear ducts to look for signs of blockages or inflammation. Once the source is discovered, they'll be able to treat it so that this is no longer an issue for you. The treatment will depend upon the cause, but it often involves flushing the tear duct and using steroid eye drops to relieve inflammation. To learn more information, reach out to a company such as Cripe Stephens & Stickel.