"Eye boogers" is not the appropriate term.
May 20, 2004 7:14 AM   Subscribe

What is the scientific/official name of the crap that forms in the corners of your eyes while sleeping?
posted by angry modem to Science & Nature (29 answers total)
Growing up, I always called them sleepy bugs. Here is the Harvard Dialect Survey result on this topic.

I don't know if there is a scientific name.
posted by mbd1mbd1 at 7:22 AM on May 20, 2004

eye boogers?
posted by eastlakestandard at 7:22 AM on May 20, 2004

I think in France they call it : cacas d'yeux (my french may be rubbish...but literally translated : poo of the eye!)
posted by mattr at 7:34 AM on May 20, 2004

We call it "sleep"
posted by Quartermass at 7:37 AM on May 20, 2004 [1 favorite]

Metafilter: Poo of the eye!

I've always heard "eye boogers". How about "ocular crust"?
posted by Succa at 7:47 AM on May 20, 2004

Mom always called it 'sleep', but as a kid, I always figured it was the sand left by the sandman. :-P

I recall from somewhere the stuff is actually protein deposits.
posted by Goofyy at 7:52 AM on May 20, 2004

I believe "crud-ola" is the official term.
posted by gramcracker at 7:59 AM on May 20, 2004

I've always called it "sleep" too, which is one of those quirks of language that makes my head spin round.
posted by gleuschk at 8:02 AM on May 20, 2004

Round these parts we call it "ocular cheese"
posted by vito90 at 8:13 AM on May 20, 2004

Isn't that just sand (you know, from the sandman coming at night, throwing it in your eyes)?
posted by kokogiak at 8:17 AM on May 20, 2004

We call it eye juice.
posted by widdershins at 8:23 AM on May 20, 2004

When you are sleeping
And your eyes start seeping
You may think it's funny
But it snot
posted by ColdChef at 8:41 AM on May 20, 2004

Since I wear contacts, I would tend to agree with Goofyy, I think it's protein deposits (though a cursory Google search hasn't turned up anything that would back me up).

FWIW, around our house anything gooey - icky is always "gunga", i.e. "You have gunga in your eye".
posted by vignettist at 8:42 AM on May 20, 2004

Mucopurulent mattering in the punctum. From this page: "The mattering present in the corners of the eyes on awakening represents dried tear mucous built up overnight."
posted by waxpancake at 8:44 AM on May 20, 2004

Mucopurulent mattering in the punctum

Sounds way more disgustinger than the French version, even after translation. Especially when you realize that purulent means "having undergone infection; 'festering sores'; 'an infected wound'". Ew. (The medical def. of purulent, of course, just means "pus-related," which is so much better.)
posted by gleuschk at 9:03 AM on May 20, 2004

"Mucopurulent mattering in the punctum" sounds so great. I love it. It's too long to be a band name or a pet name, but it must be used for something...

I've always liked the term 'cruft' for eye gunk. It has a gross ring to it.
posted by picea at 9:08 AM on May 20, 2004

I love the verb/noun "Mattering" from Waxy's definition above. How to use this in the future... "Eww, there's some mattering in the tub drain."
posted by kokogiak at 9:32 AM on May 20, 2004

i haven't had this stuff ("sleepy sand" where i come from) since i was a kid. as far as i know. do i just not notice and wash it away on a morning?
posted by andrew cooke at 9:36 AM on May 20, 2004

'Mucopurulent mattering in the punctum'? You try telling that to a 2-year-old (or a 14-year-old, for that matter).

I vote for 'sleep'.
posted by tommasz at 9:37 AM on May 20, 2004

Here in the UK, I've always hear it referred to as "sleepy dust".

This site claims that it’s just a mixture of sweat, oil from your skin, and a lot of tears.

It goes on to say "When you’re awake your eyelashes act like windshield wipers. They remove the tears that drip down from over a dozen tubes above your eyes, and they catch and filter out all the other crap floating around. But when you go to sleep, so do they. They don’t work, and when they’re not working all that goopy stuff constantly assaulting your eyes during the day has a chance to accumulate in the corner of your eye.".

Not to be harsh but a google search of "what is the gunk in your eyes after you have slept?" found this. You can probably find a more authoratitive site though.
posted by ralawrence at 9:42 AM on May 20, 2004

My mom called them "sleepers". Which, come to think of it, is what I call them, too. Not as perplexing as "sleep" and not as icky as "eye boogers".
posted by jennyb at 11:18 AM on May 20, 2004

According to Rich Hall's Sniglets (anyone remember those?), the correct term is:

Nocturnuggets (nok' ter nuh gitz) - n. Deposits found in one's eye upon awakening in the morning, also called: GOZZAGAREENA, OPTIGOOK, EYEHOCKEY, etc.
posted by titanshiny at 12:57 PM on May 20, 2004

This isn't a question you'd bother to ask in Spanish since there is a clear, unambiguous word for it: lagañas

In fact, it was common to approach the breakfast table and have your mother look at you and say "Clean those lagañas from your eyes" (in spanish, of course)

I was looking around and found a California Dept. of Health Services spanish/english dictionary of medical terms (pdf) The entry for lagañas translates it as 'sleepy-dust'
posted by vacapinta at 1:36 PM on May 20, 2004

I did google, but used the word crap. :-)
posted by angry modem at 3:42 PM on May 20, 2004

This reminds me of the throat cheese thread.
posted by piskycritter at 3:43 PM on May 20, 2004

My mom called them "sleepers". Not as perplexing as "sleep" and not as icky as "eye boogers".

I dunno, calls to mind vague sci fi weirdness, and (maybe 'cause it rhymes with "creepers"?) sounds more ominous and creepy than eye boogers to me, which just seems sort of cutely gross, if that makes sense. It's like the little sister of boogers, basically the same but somehow sweeter & gentler.

I've always called it "sleep", although what it actually is, I would think coldchef got. It's just mucus in a different place.

i haven't had this stuff since i was a kid. .. do i just not notice and wash it away on a morning?

Might depend on how you sleep or something - I get it sometimes but I certainly don't notice it every morning. I feel as if I have more of it if I have slept a long time - overslept. It also may change along with diet, allergies (if your eyes water a lot, you'd doubtless accumulate more overnight) etc. Probably just like you get more colds as a kid, you get more eye gunk as a kid, as your immune system learns how to work efficiently.
posted by mdn at 4:17 PM on May 20, 2004

Quick ask round the social circle at the pub (UK). 5 votes for sleep, and one for sandyman.
posted by seanyboy at 4:34 PM on May 20, 2004

Another word (literary rather than technical) is "rheum," although that has a wider sense.

vacapinta: Isn't the standard word legañas?

In my family we called it "sleep."
posted by languagehat at 8:19 AM on May 21, 2004

Languagehat wins the accuracy contest.
posted by waxpancake at 9:50 AM on May 21, 2004

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