Symptoms A-Z

Morning Eye Crust Symptoms, Causes & Common Questions

Understand morning eye crust symptoms, including 6 causes & common questions.

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6 Possible Morning Eye Crust Causes

The list below shows results from the use of our quiz by Buoy users who experienced morning eye crust. This list does not constitute medical advice and may not accurately represent what you have.

Viral conjunctivitis

Viral conjunctivitis, or pinkeye, is an inflammation of the clear membranes covering the eye. It causes redness, pain, and irritation of one or both eyes.

The viral form of conjunctivitis is very contagious because it is caused by the same viruses that cause influenza or the common cold. It is spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes, and then someone else inhales the virus from the droplets in the air.

Symptoms include a gritty, burning feeling in the eye; discharge or tears; swelling; itching; pink discoloration due to dilated blood vessels; and sensitivity to light.

Diagnosis is made through patient history, physical examination, and careful eye examination. Smears may be taken from the eye for testing.

Antibiotics only work against bacteria and cannot help against a viral illness, and so antibiotic eyedrops are not effective against viral conjunctivitis. Treatment includes easing the symptoms with eyedrops and warm or cool compresses over the eyes until the illness has run its course, which takes two to three weeks.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: eye redness, eye itch, sensitivity to light, feeling of something in the eye, watery eye discharge

Symptoms that always occur with viral conjunctivitis: eye redness

Urgency: Self-treatment

Bacterial conjunctivitis

Bacterial conjunctivitis, or pinkeye, is an inflammation of the clear membranes covering the eye. It causes redness, pain, and irritation of one or both eyes.

Staphylococcus or streptococcus bacteria are often involved, and anything that brings bacteria to the eye can cause conjunctivitis. Touching the eyes with unwashed hands; sharing eye makeup, washcloths, or towels; or improperly cleaning contact lenses are common causes. The same bacteria that cause the sexually transmitted diseases chlamydia and gonorrhea can also cause conjunctivitis.

Most susceptible are children, but anyone can be affected.

Symptoms include a gritty, burning feeling in the eye; discharge or tears; swelling; itching; pink discoloration due to dilated blood vessels; and sensitivity to light.

Diagnosis is made through patient history, physical examination, and careful eye examination. Smears may be taken from the eye for testing.

Treatment involves a course of antibiotic eyedrops. It is important to use all of the drops as prescribed, even when the infection seems to improve. Warm compresses over the eyes can help ease the discomfort.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: sore throat, eye redness, eye itch, watery eye discharge, eye redness

Symptoms that always occur with bacterial conjunctivitis: eye redness

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Acute allergic conjunctivitis

Itchy, red, swelling of the whites of the eyes can be caused by allergies to any number of things (like pollen, hay, etc).

Rarity: Uncommon

Top Symptoms: eye itch, eye redness, watery eye discharge, itch in both eyes, eye redness

Symptoms that always occur with acute allergic conjunctivitis: eye itch, eye redness

Symptoms that never occur with acute allergic conjunctivitis: lump in front of the ear, vision changes

Urgency: Phone call or in-person visit

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Chronic allergic conjunctivitis

Itchy, red, swelling of the whites of the eyes caused by allergies to any number of things (like pollen, hay, etc).

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: watery eye discharge, eye redness, itch in both eyes, severe eye itch, swollen eyelid

Symptoms that always occur with chronic allergic conjunctivitis: itch in both eyes, eye redness, severe eye itch

Symptoms that never occur with chronic allergic conjunctivitis: vision changes, lump in front of the ear

Urgency: Self-treatment

Inflamed eyelid (blepharitis)

Inflamed eyelid, or blepharitis, is a bacterial infection of the skin at the base of the eyelashes.

If the oil glands around the eyelashes become clogged, normal skin bacteria will multiply in the oil and cause infection. The glands can become blocked due to dandruff of the scalp and eyebrows; allergies to eye makeup or contact lens solution; or eyelash mites or lice.

Symptoms include red, swollen, painful eyelids; oily, dandruff-like flakes of skin at the base of the eyelashes; and eyelashes that grow abnormally or fall out.

If the symptoms do not clear with hygiene, see a medical provider. Blepharitis can become chronic and lead to infections of the eyelids and cornea; dry eyes which cannot take contact lenses; and scarring and deformity of the eyelids.

Diagnosis is made through physical examination of the eyelids, under magnification and through skin swab of the eyelashes.

Treatment includes warm compresses and careful washing of the eyelids; antibiotics in pill or cream form; steroid eyedrops; and treatment for any underlying condition such as dandruff or rosacea.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: eye itch, sensitivity to light, eye redness, feeling of something in the eye, dry eyes

Symptoms that never occur with inflamed eyelid (blepharitis): severe eye pain

Urgency: Self-treatment

Stye and chalazion

A stye (or hordeolum) is an infection in the upper or lower eyelid. There are three glands around the eye and one of them is infected.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: swelling of one eyelid, redness around the eye, feeling of something in the eye, eyelid lump, eyelid pain

Symptoms that always occur with stye and chalazion: swelling of one eyelid

Symptoms that never occur with stye and chalazion: fever

Urgency: Self-treatment

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Morning Eye Crust

To diagnose this condition, your doctor would likely ask the following questions:

  • Does anyone in your family have asthma, dermatitis, or allergies to pollen/animals/mold?
  • Is there any fluid or discharge coming from your eye(s)?
  • Did your symptoms start after rubbing your eyes?
  • Have you been around anyone with the same symptoms, possibly exposing yourself to an infection?

The above questions are also covered by our A.I. Health Assistant.

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions

Take a quiz to find out what might be causing your morning eye crust

Morning Eye Crust Symptom Checker Statistics

People who have experienced morning eye crust have also experienced:

  • 7% Eye Itch
  • 6% Tearing Up In Both Eyes
  • 5% Congestion

People who have experienced morning eye crust were most often matched with:

  • 57% Bacterial Conjunctivitis
  • 28% Acute Allergic Conjunctivitis
  • 14% Viral Conjunctivitis

Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

Morning Eye Crust Symptom Checker

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Disclaimer: The article does not replace an evaluation by a physician. Information on this page is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes.