Is The Mucus Fishing TikTok Trend Actually Safe?

Another viral TikTok trend is causing doctors to speak out and sound the alarm. Known as mucus fishing, the trend involves using a finger or cotton swab to drag the mucus out of one's eye. While the viral video hack might look satisfying to watch, similar to the allure of watching pimple popping videos, the mucus in your eye is there for a reason. According to Shape, mucus helps trap moisture in the eye and protect it from external irritants.

The mucus in your eyes shouldn't be that noticeable to begin with, which could prompt some people to go looking for it. Generally speaking, however, it will collect in the corners of the eyes or under your eyelids. If your eye mucus is bothering you for some reason, Shape recommends that you use a wet washcloth to clean your eyes.

Removing eye mucus will not only defeat its purpose, but it could lead to other problems. Here's what experts have to say on the subject.

Removing eye mucus can cause mucus fishing syndrome

If you continue to drag the mucus out of your eyes, you may develop a condition known as mucus fishing syndrome. As it turns out, removing your eye mucus can cause irritation and actually lead to an overproduction of mucus. According to Cleveland Clinic, making a habit of this can cause damage to the eyes, especially if you're repeatedly touching your eyes with unwashed fingers. The best way to treat this condition is to stop touching and removing the mucus from your eyes.

"Avoiding touching your eyes is essential in breaking the cycle of the disease," ophthalmologist Dr. Rony Sayegh told Cleveland Clinic. However, sometimes an underlying condition may be what's causing you to notice your eye mucus in the first place. Some conditions that might be causing this include dry eye, conjunctivitis, or body-focused repetitive behaviors like trichotillomania. According to Sayegh, addressing any underlying condition is the key to treating mucus fishing syndrome.