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Mucous Fishing Syndrome

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  • Mucous Fishing Syndrome

    This must be one of the most embarassing conditions people suffer. I have had this for many years and have tried to get help from several eye specialists. The last time, a few months ago, the doctor told me that this was a very boring condition for eye specialists - much like a neurologist would find epilepsy not as interesting as other neurological diseases.

    Each time I have been, they send me off with a different eye drop to try and of course I know I should not touch my eyes. Nothing has worked. Even when I have tried very hard not to touch my eyes for months, the mucous is still there and I feel it. I feel I must produce so much more than most people. I am very self consious and would feel embarrassed if people saw mucous in the corner of my eyes - so I remove it. I started using a tissue as I think of the germs on fingers.

    This is not something I can talk to anyone about. I really suffer from having to live with this. When I went to the specialist I printed off a net article about how a guy was helped. He was given an agent to decrease mucous production, etc and he was gradually helped. The doctor dismissed this info even though it was from a reputable journal. It is not as simple as using eye drops or stopping the removal. I need help and I don't know what else to do. Over the years, my condition seems to have just got worse. Even using an eye bath doesn't help - the mucous seems to heavy to be moved by the saline liquid.

    Even though I know I am damaging the surface of my eye and could possibly end up with droopy lid syndrome, I can't stop this. I can barely even bring up my issue with a doctor let alone anyone else. My partner is supportive but gets sick of me doing it of course. It must be very unattarctive to others.

    I wish there was support from others suffering as I know they must be out there. Maybe someone who has gone through this could provide advice. My eyes always look tired. Even though the mucous only looks tiny, it feels like a heavy weight on my eyes. I am at my wits end with this.

  • #2
    Dear Sydneysider,

    Welcome to Dry Eye Talk. I hope you don't mind I moved your post here to Open Forum so that more people with experience of mucous fishing syndrome will see it. (It was posted at the end of a long thread about MGD in one of the treatment archive forums.)

    I wish I knew what to say. Clearly you're going through a really rough time with this. One of my first thoughts reading it was that you may need a more supportive physician to help you through this. It almost sounds like two separate issues... dealing with what's causing the excess mucous, and dealing with the fishing habit. For the latter, I wonder if... it won't sound practical but just thinking aloud... wearing some wraparound eyewear like some of us have for dry eye would be a help, by just kind of making you stop and think more before touching your eyes.

    Incidentally I touch my eyes too much too - dates back to my old soft contact lens days where I used to get a lot of 'gunk' in my eyes.
    Rebecca Petris
    The Dry Eye Zone


    • #3
      Mucous Fishing

      Hello Sydneysider! Believe me, we have heard it all here and you are not alone. My daughter has suffered from the same thing since she was 12 (she is 35 now) and we never understood what it was until I joined this forum. Recently she saw my own eye doctor and he confirmed that she also had a dry eye problem (like me) and the mucous problem is a part of that. Make sure you take a look at Delilah's postings and you will see what she has gone through.


      • #4

        well i can say dat sometime my eyes produces too much mucus...white discharge....which not only accumulate @ the corners but ALSO at the bottom of my eyelids.....n it is very opaque!sometime i feel it too
        but u kno wat......y i use ointmen day n night......ointment tend (for me) to dissolve the white discharge and it doesn't appear for some times...some times i means...dat depend...for 1h30 to 3hr maxi!....
        well i know dat rebbecca and all other memebers (thx btw)have said to me dat ointment is not good.....but wat can i do? im so young and i don't wan people to see dat...dat will scare them i continue to use onitment...BUT, listening to tips of these members, i use artificial tears@night(except wen sleeping), to minimize risk of worsening my eye due to possible bounce back reaction from ointment...
        but 4 now i don't seems to have bounce back reaction wen using it for 1/1/2year for now...(thx god!!!!!)

        btw....before discovering ointment "benefit" -if i might say dat- well me too i have constant mucus fishing syndrome...
        NOW........NOT anymore thanks to it...
        If I have to choose between being happy and sad, I''ll choose being happy....... and you?... so.... stop choosing being unhappy (yeah its hard but....)....stop depressing........ live!!!


        • #5
          Mucous fishing syndrome

          Thanks, it is good to hear from others. It is great to talk about this issue with others who understand.

          Thanks for moving the post - I don't know this site well but will have a good look around and also, read the posting recomended.


          • #6
            i suffer from the same problem... my eyes are always full of stringy mucus and i use my finger to get it out... if i dont remove it, i cannot see it blurrs my vision... so what other options do we have.. its a lose lose situation... i havent found anything that helps yet... or a dr to help..

            my eyes always look red and tired also.. sucks


            • #7
              Muscous fishing syndrome

              Should we be using artifical tears at night? Someone mentioned ointment?

              Also, the mucous just isn't at the corner of the eyes, that's just where it ends up if not removed.

              Has anyone been able to help themselves who has had this?



              • #8
                What's the root cause? Is it excess mucin or is it an aqueous deficiency with mucin overproduction as a way of lubrication? Is it just an allergy?

                I'm not an MD, just a veterinarian but I see this commonly in dogs. They have a poor Schirmers test but thick gobs of mucous attached to the medial canthi. In the past, treatment was usually acytylcysteine to break up the mucous, cyclosporine to stimulate aqueous tears and artificial tears to dilute the mucous remnants so it can be removed by ductal drainage. These days Optimmune, a cyclosporine eye ointment, is often used alone to clear the problem.


                • #9
                  Count me in, too. Charter member of the Yuckie Mucous Globs in the Canthi Club.

                  Its almost a gross game for me now. A really good pull forms a triangle as the string comes from the corner of the eye and drags the mucous from across the upper and lower surface of the eye .... usually above and below the contact lens. If it breaks before I get the whole thing, it leaves the glob on/under my contact lens and it takes a good bit of saline rinsing to fish it out.

                  It is, indeed, another gross indignity that many of us have to deal with. Like others....I usually carry a small mirror with me and check periodically. If Im home, I use alcohol-sterilized tweezers to grab em. If Im not home, I use my fingers or a tissue or whatever. Luckily, my mirror is inside a folding compass, so....since Im traveling around Europe, it looks more like ʹm using the compass than picking mucous globs out of my eyes.

                  We have another DEZ user....Delilah, I think.....thats got a pretty serious history with the stringy mucous stuff .... sadly.

                  Welcome to the site. I cant participate much these days, but wish you all the best.



                  • #10
                    So... has anyone found something that works to stop this? The only thing an eye doctor has told me is that my mucus is coming because my eyes are so dry it is trying to lubricate and protect my eyes... I use artificial tears and eye scrubs and ointment all day.. everyday... I use my artificial tears once every hour or 2... obviously it isn't hepng if im still producing lots of stringy mucus... I have had my tear ducts plugged also.. the bottoms, my eyes still over-flow with tears that i have to dab my eye with a tissue every few minutes or it looks as if im crying. My eyes are ALWAYS red and tired looking, from my constant wiping and fishing... it sucks. I ahte myself for it bc im embarassed to go in public.

                    Any ideas? You say ointment helped you? What kind of ointment? How can u see during the day by putting ointment in? I hate ointment but would use if u say it helped you.. to see if it helped any. Im running low on ideas that would help... and no eye dr yet can seem to help me, i get told "live with it".. id personally rather cut my eyes out if i have to live with this the rest of my life... iv been living with it for 5 years now.. and im almost at my wits end.




                    • #11
                      Mucous fishing syndrome

                      Well, at least the dogs are getting help.

                      Neil says many of us have to deal with this. Is it very common does anyone know, when it gets to the chronic stage like it has for a few of us here?

                      I of course sympathise with Angela. It is just awful to live with this secretive problem that eats away at you because you feel helpless in knowing what to do and when you do go for help, not much changes. I have MS yet this eye business causes me more inner turmoil. At least I can openly talk about my MS with others and they understand and doctors do all they can to help and i accept there is no cure. With this syndrome, I am always searching for the cure.

                      I suppose the problem is is that you constantly look people in the eye when communciating. I am always wondering if I have mucous in my eyes as people are talking to me and that's I think what drives me to make sure my eyes are always clean.

                      I don't have contacts and avoided eye plugs.

                      The specialist i went to said that they don't know if the mucous consistency changes with "fishers" over time - what a great name hey? I wonder if that's why the problem has become worse over the years.

                      I undertsand that the problem began with dry eye - it makes perfect sense that the mucous is meant to be a part of the tear fluid for lubrication. In some of us though, this mucous business goes horribly wrong.


                      • #12
                        well. i said ointment did help me....
                        but beware, its an ill for an i have found from statemen of regular users....
                        hm...but wat can we do....
                        but i continue2use ointment in the day n@home i use a.tears.
                        ointment, due to petroleum, disolve the mucus(like i said above)....well any kind of ointment can be "good"....i use duratears (without preservative)...
                        n the mucus don't appear4 an average of1 to2hr.. but dat depend upon the atmosphere condition....for e.g in very dry condition, it can appear 30min...n in good condition, for 3hr i can get NO problem...
                        but well it has indeed help me not to scare people away...
                        i found dat a.tears specially make the mucus more visible...dont kno y....
                        If I have to choose between being happy and sad, I''ll choose being happy....... and you?... so.... stop choosing being unhappy (yeah its hard but....)....stop depressing........ live!!!


                        • #13
                          We were treating this condition in animals nearly 30 years ago, using aceytlcysteine and cyclosporine. Both drugs can be put in an eyedrop. Cyclosporine dissolves in lipids. In the U.S. if a doctor writes a prescription, custom pharmacies can make the stuff up. I use the veterinary version of cyclosporine, called Optimmune. The human version is Restasis. I imagine acetylcysteine could be added to Restasis. Just a guess.


                          • #14
                            I use Restasis... I was told it takes 3 months for any results... so i am still waiting.


                            • #15
                              Just a thought but have you tried acetylsysteine?
                              It helps disolving mucos systemically (in the whole body). I've tried it myself and maybe it help ... not really sure since my mucos dependes a lot on allergies... so too many variables.
                              but ask your doc about it
                              take care