Mucus Fishing Syndrome: Symptoms and Treatments Explained!

mucus fishing syndrome

Mucus fishing syndrome refers to a condition where you “fish” or pull mucus strands out of your eyes.

Mucus can form from a variety of eye conditions. It might seem like a good idea to pull on the mucus strands to get rid of it. The eye is irritated even more by the act of pulling the mucus out. Your eye will produce more mucus.

This behavior creates a cycle of mucus production that continues to increase as you continue doing it.

It is called mucus fishing syndrome. It’s when strands of mucus build-up, and the person has to keep removing them from their eyes. It is how a person removes these strands.

There are many reasons that mucus may appear in the eye, including irritation or infection. When a person pulls out mucus from their eyes, it can cause irritation, which in turn causes more mucus to form. The more mucus a person produces, the less they remove.

Continue reading to find out more about eye mucus and how to stop it from happening again.

What are the signs of Mucus Fishing Syndrome?

Mucus fishing syndrome is a condition where you pull mucus from your eyes frequently. It can cause eye irritation and increase mucus production. Eye infection can be characterized by:

  • redness
  • Tear production
  • Stinging, resentment, and pain
  • inflammation

What is mucus fishing syndrome?


The cyclical pattern in which you produce and remove mucus strands is called Mucus Fishing Syndrome.

These are some conditions that can lead to too much mucus in your eyes.

Dry eye syndrome

Dry eyes mean that your tears are not of sufficient quality and provide inadequate lubrication. Your eyes may produce excessive tears, which can lead to overflow. Inflammation, irritation, or infection can result from touching and wiping your eyes.

Dry eye is a condition in which the tears of a person do not adequately lubricate their eye. It is when the eye produces more tears to compensate. If this happens, it causes people to touch their eyes excessively to wipe away the tears.

Eye infections can be caused by constant touching. Inflamed eyes can also become irritated.

Conjunctivitis (pink eye)

Conjunctivitis may be caused by an allergy, irritant virus, bacteria, or a virus. Redness, irritation, and excessive watering can all be symptoms. You may also notice thick, yellow-green mucus.

Conjunctivitis is also known as pinkeye. It causes the eyes to turn pink and become painful. This can affect both eyes. It can be caused by an allergy, bacteria, virus, or other condition.

Conjunctivitis can be characterized by:

  • Red or pink eyes
  • Itchy, burning sensation in the eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Sticky put in the eyes.

Hand washing is essential. Avoid touching the eye area and sharing pillows or towels to reduce the chance of conjunctivitis spreading to others.


Blepharitis refers to inflammation of the eyelids. It can occur due to insufficient or abnormal oil secretion from your tears. This can lead to excessive tear production, redness, and crusty eyelashes, especially in the morning. It is possible to develop a chronic condition.

Tears can contain different substances such as water, salt, and oil. Blepharitis is a syndrome in which the oil glands fail to function correctly. It causes the eyelids and skin to become inflamed, crusty, and irritated.

Excessive tear production, red eyes can characterize blepharitis, and eyelashes are sticking together or becoming crusty.


Dacryocystitis can be caused by blockage of the tear ducts. Although it is more common in infants, adults can also get it. Eye discharge is the main symptom.

Dacryocystitis refers to an eye infection that affects tear ducts. It can happen when the tear ducts get blocked and cause the eye to produce a sticky discharge.

Children are more susceptible than adults, but infants are most likely to get it.

Disorder of body-focused repetitive behavior (BFRB).

Body-focused repetitive behavior disorder (BFRB), which can cause mucus fishing syndrome, may also be a factor. It can be similar to nail-biting, redundant hair pulling, or skin picking. This is not normal behavior. It is a challenging behavior to change and can cause serious health problems.

A BFRB can make you more likely to fish for mucus in times of stress or boredom. BFRB is most common in childhood and adolescence. It can affect as many as 1 in 20.

People with body-focused repetitive behavior (BFRB) disorder may rub their eyes a lot. It can cause irritation and extra mucus production.

A person suffering from this disorder will often perform repetitive actions such as pulling their hair or rubbing their eyes. It is difficult for them to control the number of times they do this. It can lead to damage to their physical and psychological health.

BRFB can affect around 20 people. Stress and boredom may make it worse.

It happens.

An ongoing or past disease causes most cases of excess mucus production. Dry Eye, allergic conjunctivitis, and viral conjunctivitis are common causes. The eyes naturally produce more mucus, and patients can remove it.

Touching the sensitive tissue inside or outside the eyelids can cause more inflammation and increase mucus production. Even if the initial problem is solved, the vicious cycle of mucus production continues, and anglers continue to catch them.

What are patients noticing?


The most common complaints are the stringy mucus, which builds up under the eyelid and sticks to the cornea. It can cause vision problems. Some patients complain of itchy, red, and irritable eyes.

Don’t fish!

Patients should not touch their inner eyelids or whites of their eyes with anything. It is key to successful treatment. It can be difficult to break this habit, and there may be more mucus. Some patients need to be reminded not to touch their eyes.

You can use sunglasses, swim goggles, or gloves to help you avoid getting your eyes hurt. Extensions of nails have been proven to be helpful! It is best not to fish when you are likely to be distracted with other activities, such as gardening or sports.

Inflammation management for Mucus Fishing Syndrome

Inflammation of the eyelids and eyelashes can cause excess mucus production. It is easier to stop fishing when you have treated inflammation. These are some of the valuable strategies:

  • Use cold compresses
  • Refrigerated artificial tears can be used to rinse the eye.
  • One short course of non-preserved steroids eye drops

Mucus can be broken down.

Mucolytic drugs like N-acetylcysteine are beneficial.

Be sensitive to the underlying conditions of Mucus Fishing Syndrome.

MFS is most commonly caused by allergy or dry eye. These conditions require regular management. It may be necessary to use anti-allergy drops like sodium cromoglycate or non-preserved artificial tear.

The good news

Almost all cases of mucus production will disappear within two weeks if the fishing is stopped.

How Mucus Fishing Syndrome diagnosed?

A person ought to see their doctor immediately if the mucus from the eyes does not disappear. It will reduce the chance of your eye getting infected.

Patients must tell their doctor what symptoms they are experiencing and how often they pull mucus out of their eyes. It will allow them to diagnose the problem quickly.

Mucus fishing syndrome can be caused by irritation or an underlying condition. A doctor will likely discuss any other symptoms to determine the cause. The doctor will typically perform an eye exam that includes artificially dilating the pupil and examining the eye.

Not everyone can drive after a doctor has done a procedure to dilate their eyes. If this happens, the person should arrange transportation home. People who have had previous artificial dilation may be able to drive home. To reduce light sensitivity, patients should wear sunglasses.

Your eye doctor ought to be consulted if you experience persistent mucus drainage. It is crucial to receive the correct diagnosis. Early intervention is key to preventing the situation from getting worse.

Your doctor will likely diagnose you if you tell them you have been pulling mucus from your eye. The diagnosis may take longer if you are not willing to share the information.

Your doctor will need to determine the cause of your eye irritation once you have been diagnosed with mucus fish syndrome.

The doctor will inspect both the back and the surface of your eyes. To do this, your physicist will need to dilate the eyes. After dilation, you will need to wait approximately an hour before driving. You can ask someone to go you home after your appointment if possible.

If you suspect you may have BFRB disorder, you should consult a therapist.

Treatment of Mucus Fishing Syndrome


Mucus fishing syndrome is when a person stops touching their eyes to remove excess mucus.

Additional treatment may be required if an underlying condition such as conjunctivitis or dry eye syndrome causes mucus fishing syndrome.

A doctor might recommend:

  • antibiotics
  • steroid eye drops
  • Eye drops that lubricate the eyes
  • Use cold or warm compresses to reduce inflammation and soothe the skin

It may be challenging to stop fishing for mucus initially. However, once an individual has stopped fishing for mucus, the eye will stop producing it and begin to clear.

It may be more complex for people with BFRB disorder. A doctor might recommend therapy to prevent BFRB disorder from recurring.

BRFB treatment involves behavioral therapy. It is a combination of several techniques that train a person in various ways to change their repetitive patterns.

How Mucus Fishing Syndrome handled?

Mucus fishing syndrome can be treated by changing your fishing habits. Your doctor will tell you to stop pulling on the mucus and touching your eyes.

Dry eye syndrome, conjunctivitis, or any other eye condition may require additional treatment. These conditions may be treated with the following:

  • lubricating eye drops
  • Use cold or warm compresses
  • Antibiotics
  • steroid eye drops

Your eyes will improve once you stop fishing and treat the underlying problem. You’ll stop fishing eventually as your mucus production slows down.

If the underlying condition is not being treated, talk to your doctor, and you can still break the fishing pattern.

Treating BFRB

BFRB disorder can also be treated with behavioral therapy that includes habit-reversal training.

Although you cannot treat BFRB disorder specifically with medication, some medications may reduce symptoms. These medications can be used depending on the reason for your condition.

  • Selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).
  • mood stabilizers
  • dopamine blockers
  • Opioid antagonists

Your treatment plan should include behavioral therapy if you are taking medication. Make sure you find a doctor who is experienced in treating BFRB disorders.

Are there any problems?

If you don’t treat eye problems promptly, your chances of getting serious eye infections can arise. Your eyes can become infected if you continue to touch them.

What is the outlook?

It can be challenging to break a long-standing habit, especially if it is a persistent one.

Dry eye syndrome, conjunctivitis, or any other condition will cause your eye to produce less mucus. It will make it easier to stop your mucus pulling.

Once you have broken the habit and the underlying issues have been resolved, your condition should improve. Avoid touching or pulling on your eye mucus if you continue to experience irritation. Consult your eye doctor immediately.

Continue to see your therapist if you have BFRB disorder.

The mucus fishing syndrome can be resolved if the person stops fishing for the mucus. However, it can be hard to break the habit.

A mucus around the eyes can indicate an eye condition. Eye problems that aren’t treated promptly can become more severe and infected.

Any underlying condition can be treated to reduce eye irritation and mucus production. It will make it less necessary for someone to pull out mucus.

Good eye hygiene habits will reduce the chance of developing eye problems such as mucus fish syndrome.

Eye health tips for Mucus Fishing Syndrome patients

eye health tips

While you cannot prevent all eye problems from happening, there are steps you can take to ensure your eyes stay healthy. These are some tips to help you get started.

  • Avoid touching your eyes.
  • Contact lenses should be properly disinfected. Your lens case should be replaced often. Your eye doctor will instruct you to replace your lenses. Before handling your lenses, wash your hands well.
  • Eye drops should not be applied to your face or hands. It could cause infection. Artificial tears should not be used more than once a day.
  • When participating in sports or other games that could put your eyes in danger, make sure you wear the recommended protective eyewear.
  • Wear sunglasses that block 99-100 percent when outdoor UV-A and UVB radiation.
  • Don’t smoke. It enhances the risk of developing cataracts, age-related macular damage, and optic nerve injury.
  • To reduce eye strain, if you spend too much time staring at screens, blink a few more times per 20 minutes to keep your eyes from getting too tired.
  • Include plenty of dark leafy greens like spinach and collard greens in your diet. Eye health is also enhanced by fish high in omega-3 fatty acids such as tuna and salmon.
  • A yearly eye exam should include dilation. Some eye diseases don’t show symptoms until the very early stages. Your vision can be saved if you get treatment early. If you’ve any family history of eye disease, tell your eye doctor.
  • Follow your doctor’s guidance if you have been diagnosed with an eye condition.
  • Eye discomfort, blurry vision, or other symptoms that could indicate infection should be reported to your doctor immediately.
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