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Sticky Eyes Or Dacryostenosis: Causes and Treatment

Do not ignore if you experience sticky eyes as this can be a sign of something serious. Get more details in this article.

Chanchal Sengar
Written by: Chanchal SengarPublished at: Sep 09, 2022Updated at: Sep 09, 2022
Sticky Eyes Or Dacryostenosis: Causes and Treatment

Blocked ear duct or dacryostenosis or sticky eyes is a very common condition. It is usually caused by excess mucus or discharge that dries between your eyelids, making them harder to open. In severe cases, eyes feel glued shut and you are unable to open them. This sticky feeling is the worst right after you wake up from a nap or sleep. Sticky eyes don’t come alone, you are highly likely to experience other eye-related issues too. For example, in some cases the eyes might seem both sticky and blurry, with a slight burning sensation. While, someone else’s eyes could feel sticky and painful, but without blurriness.

According to Dr. Pooja Angadi, Senior Consultant at Sharp Sight Eye Hospitals, a person should seek out an eye doctor if:

  • Eye produces a large amount of discharge
  • Eye produces green, yellow, or white discharge
  • Difficult to open the eye
  • Eye is red, swollen, or painful
  • Sensitive to light
  • Blurry vision

Causes of sticky eyes

There are some conditions that can cause sticky eyes to happen but many are temporary and curable.

Some problems require treatment while others get better over a period of time. If you’re not sure about what is causing your eyes to stick or whether you need treatment, schedule an appointment with an ophthalmologist.

Also Read: What Causes Yellow Eyes or Jaundice Eyes?

Bacterial infection

If you witness thick pus in your eye or running from your eyelids, then it could be a sign of bacterial eye infection. It usually happens when bacteria enters your conjunctiva, the thin membrane that covers the front of the eye and lines the inner surface of the eyelids. An eye doctor might recommend antibiotics, but they aren’t always needed.

Causes of sticky eyes


Many people associate sneezing with allergies as eye-related symptoms are also very common. Redness, irritated eyes and burning eyes from allergic conjunctivitis can sometimes cause a mild sticking sensation to your eyes. The type of discharge is a stringy discharge that keeps coming out of the eye like a string when pulled upon.

Cold, flu, or another common illness

Common viral illnesses like cold, flu or upper respiratory infections can cause you to feel a number of symptoms in your head. Your eyes are no exception, and the additional mucus and irritation caused by these illnesses can result in sticky eyes.

Also Read: Eye Problems That You Can Get If You Overexpose Your Eyes To Sunlight

Complications from contact lens use

If you wear your contact lenses often, and if you don’t clean and maintain them properly, then you may experience mucus and debris buildup, eyelid inflammation, and eventually sticky eyes.

Nasolacrimal duct obstruction

This condition occurs in newborn infants. There is discharge and stickiness of eyes but no redness. It occurs due to incomplete opening of the nasolacrimal duct that is situated in the nose. It can be treated with antibiotics and lacrimal sac area massage.

Chronic Dacryocystitis

This is infection of the lacrimal sac causing the nasolacrimal duct to be swollen and inflammed and hence causing nasolacrimal duct obstruction.

Severe Dry Eye

Causes of sticky eyes

Certain systemic diseases like Sjogren syndrome and Rheumatoid arthritis cause very severe dry eyes. Lack of proper tear circulation can lead to sticky eyes in this case.

Treatment of sticky eyes

The treatment for sticky eyes depends on the cause. Whether it is an allergy or an irritant or an underlying eye condition. An ophthalmologist generally prescribes the following:

  • Antibiotic medicine (oral or topical)
  • Antiviral medicine
  • Antihistamine medicine
  • Lacrimal sac area massage in newborn babies
  • Lubricant eye drops
  • Surgical correction in case of nasolacrimal duct obstruction and severe dry eye.

If you are unable to open your eyes due to extreme stickiness, use a damp, warm cloth and wipe your eyes gently. If this is not helping, consider an eye specialist as soon as possible.

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