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Will Dry Eye Syndrome Make My eyes Feel Sticky?

Dry Eye

Dry eye syndrome, a prevalent eye condition, is characterized by the eyes’ inability to maintain a healthy layer of tears. It’s a common misconception that dry eye only leads to a lack of moisture; however, it can also cause eye discharge and result in sticky eyes. This article explores the relationship between dry eye syndrome and sticky eyes, detailing symptoms, causes, and treatment options.

Understanding Dry Eye Syndrome

Dry eye disease occurs when the eyes do not produce enough tears or when tears evaporate too quickly. This lack of proper lubrication can lead to various symptoms, including:

  • Eye Irritation: Feeling of grittiness or scratchiness in the eyes.
  • Redness: Persistent redness due to inflammation of the eyelids or the surface of the eye.
  • Watery Eyes: Oddly, dry eye can cause eyes to water excessively in an attempt to compensate for dryness.
  • Sticky Discharge: Accumulation of mucus in the corners of the eyes, especially after waking up.

Causes of Dry Eye and Sticky Discharge

Dry eye can be caused by several factors such as aging, environmental conditions, certain medications, contact lens wear, and medical conditions like Sjogren’s syndrome. In severe cases of dry eye, the glands that produce tears can become inflamed, leading to an overproduction of mucus. This results in a gritty discharge and the feeling of sticky eyes.

Treatment for Dry Eye Syndrome

  • Artificial Tears: Over-the-counter artificial tears can help keep the eyes moist and alleviate dry eye symptoms.
  • Warm Compresses: Applying warm compresses can help unclog blocked tear ducts and glands, improving tear production.
  • Prescription Medications: In more severe cases, eye doctors may prescribe medications to reduce inflammation and promote tear production.
  • Punctal Plugs: These tiny devices are inserted into tear ducts to block tear drainage, thus keeping the eyes moist.


Can dry eye syndrome lead to more severe eye problems?

If left untreated, dry eye syndrome can lead to more serious eye conditions, including eye infections and damage to the eye surface.

Should I see a doctor if I have symptoms of dry eye?

Yes, consulting an eye doctor is advisable, especially if you experience persistent discomfort or discharge.

Are there any lifestyle changes that can help with dry eye?

Yes, wearing sunglasses outdoors, taking breaks during long screen times, and staying hydrated can help manage dry eye symptoms.

Is sticky eye discharge always due to dry eye syndrome?

While often a symptom of dry eye, sticky discharge can also be a sign of other eye conditions, like conjunctivitis (pink eye). It’s best to get a proper diagnosis.


Dry eye syndrome can indeed make your eyes feel sticky due to increased mucus production. Recognizing the symptoms and seeking timely treatment is crucial for maintaining eye health and comfort. For expert care and a comprehensive range of treatment options for dry eye and other eye conditions, the Anaheim Eye Institute stands out. Their team of experienced professionals uses the latest in eye care technology and treatments, ensuring that each patient receives the best possible care for their individual needs. Contact them to learn more about dry eye syndrome and to schedule an eye exam.

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