TikTok doctor explains mucus fishing syndrome

TikTok / @tonyyounmd

People have been “fishing” mucus out of their eyes on TikTok, and experts have warned it could impact their vision as well as their mental health.

On the popular app, people have been posting videos showing how they remove strings of mucus from under their eyes with cotton swabs.

The videos primarily gained attention in early 2021 and to date, the hashtag #mucusfishing has garnered 7.5 million views, while #mucusremoval has 183.2 million views.

When it became popular on TikTok, doctors on the app were quick to speak out against it.

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Dr Anthony Youn, who has 7.5 million followers, warned that this is actually called mucus fishing syndrome, and the more you pull - the worse it gets.

@tonyyounmd

#duet with @mikaylaadiorr What is this? #mucus #mucusfishing #doctorexplains #eyelid


NHS surgical doctor Dr Karan Rajan also warned that prodding at your eye will make the situation worse.

@dr.karanr

#stitch with @valeriya.eros fishing for mucus #WonderWaterWhip #learnontiktok #schoolwithdrkaran


So why do we have mucus in our eyes in the first place?

According to eye experts at Lenstore, sticky mucus can be caused by infection, dryness, and a number of other factors.

Although the build-up can be annoying and it can therefore prove tempting to remove the mucus, “fishing” it out can make your eye even more irritated and lead to even more mucus developing.

Aside from not being good for our vision, Jordan Vyas-Lee, a Clinical Director at Vyas Lee Practice says it can also impact our mental health, too.

Sufferers may experience anxiety about being unable to control the issue, and people’s self-worth may be knocked due to the image concerns that result from repeated “body picking trauma”.

Thankfully there are things you can do to stop mucus fishing.

Let your eyes deal with mucus on their own and resist the temptation to go in with a swab or your finger.

Depending on your circumstances, eye drops, a warm compress, or antibiotics may do the trick and help you put down the cotton buds once and for all.

Lenstore’s experts have four simple tips for keeping your eyes healthy and for reducing the likelihood of excess mucus and inflammation.

Avoid pawing at your eyes where possible, clean your glasses regularly, remain hydrated, and cut down your screen time to save your peepers from drying out.

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