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What is Mucus Fishing Syndrome? Causes, Symptoms, Treatments And Prevention

Mucus fishing syndrome (MFS) is a cyclic disorder in which a person continuously 'fish' or pulls mucous strands from the eyes. Mucus can occur as a result of a variety of eye problems. When the sticky substance irritates the eye, people often pull the strands to clear the mucus.

The removing of the mucus irritates the eye even more and as a result, more mucus is produced. Repeating this action leads to a continuous cycle of mucus generation and clearance, causing mucus fishing syndrome. [1]

Let's know about the condition in detail.

Causes Of Mucus Fishing Syndrome

The main cause of mucus fishing syndrome is the overproduction of mucus in the eyes caused by conditions such as:

  • Dacryocystitis: It is an infection of the tear ducts that affects the eyes. It occurs when the tear ducts get blocked, resulting in a sticky discharge from the eye. [2]
  • Conjunctivitis: Also known as pink eye, conjunctivitis is an infectious infection that causes the eyes to become pink followed by mucus production. This is particularly caused due to allergies, bacteria or viruses. [3]
  • Dry eye syndrome: In this condition, the tear glands do not function well or the produced tears are of low quality and not appropriate to lubricate the eye. Inflammation, irritation, and infection can result from wiping and touching your eyes.
  • Blepharitis: It develops when the oil glands do not function properly, leading the eyelids to become inflamed and crusty. The symptoms include increased tear production, redness in the eyes and crusting of the eyelashes.

Symptoms Of Mucus Fishing Syndrome

The major symptom of mucus fishing syndrome is the continuous removal of mucus strands from the eye's surface. Repetition of this activity may increase the risk of eye discomfort and infection, leading to other symptoms like: [4]

  • Inflammation around the eye redness
  • Watery eyes
  • Pain in the eyes
  • Burning or stinging sensation in the eyes.
  • Complications Of Mucus Fishing Syndrome
  • Though long-term consequences of MFS are not indicated in studies, experts say that it may lead to serious eye injuries like damage to internal eye parts or scarring of eyes inner parts.

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Diagnosis Of Mucus Fishing Syndrome

As soon as a person observe persistent mucus discharge from the eye, they must consult a medical expert. This will help reduce the chances of infection in the eye. [5]

A doctor may ask for symptoms and how frequently they take mucus out from their eyes. As mucus fishing syndrome is usually caused by irritation or an underlying condition, a doctor may ask for other symptoms to determine the underlying cause.

The expert may likely undertake an examination that includes dilation of the pupil and examination of the eye. It is recommended to avoid driving or other such activities after the test.

Treatments Of Mucus Fishing Syndrome

Some of the treatment methods for mucus fishing syndrome may include:

  • Antibiotics: To treat infection of the eyes.
  • Eye drops: To help manage dry eye symptoms.
  • Cold/warm compress: To reduce inflammation of the eyes.
  • Behavioural therapy: In case the person is unable to break the habit due to body-focused repetitive behaviour, a type of obsessive-compulsive disorder. [6]

Some Useful Tips

  • Avoid touching the eyes repeatedly.
  • Avoid touching the eyes with unhygienic hands.
  • Wash hands before wearing contact lenses.
  • Avoid coming in contact with cigarette smoke as it can irritate the eyes.
  • Wear sunglasses with suitable UV protection on sunny days.
  • Book an annual eye examination.

To Conclude

Anyone suspecting an eye problem should consult the medical expert as soon as possible and follow their recommendations.

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