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Q. Why do my eyes get stuck on awakening?

Answered by
Dr. Shikha
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Oct 12, 2016 and last reviewed on: Sep 17, 2020

Hi doctor,

I am wondering about my eye condition. I have had Symblepharon and I may have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (awaiting diagnosis). I have general tissue fragility. My skin will stretch more than normal, hypermobility of my joints due to fragile stretchy tendons and ligaments that provide poor support. I have very dry eyes and so, I am using ointment at night and gel lubricant by day. I was previously on Restasis for a year. I have had no eye surgeries or other trauma that I can think of as it might cause symblepharon. Is that a fixed condition of attachment? Or can it be manually detached (by the patient) and then reattach again after another night of sleep? It is very odd and appears a bit like mucus in photos, but it is not mucus at all. I have this sort of superfluous white tissue that adheres over my eye during sleep. I can gradually and carefully detach it from the eyeball in the morning using hot steam compresses. It seems to spring back to wherever it came from.

The eye is very red and irritated with a throbbing ache similar to after getting poked in the eye. There is also usually some residual swelling afterward in the hollow between the top of my upper eyelid and the eye socket. This phenomenon occurs only with my left eye, which has mild ptosis since I had some mini-stroke episodes about 5 years ago. It is affecting my vision and now I have some pain basically all the time on the surface of this eye and it is also painful with eye movement.

I am currently taking Naproxen for inflammation and joint pain and Tramadol when needed for migraine pain. The migraines are left hemisphere and affect the same eye. I have not had the exact issue before, but I have had the eyelid stick before due to dry eye.

Dr. Shikha

General Practitioner Ophthalmology (Eye Care)


Welcome to

I have read all of your complaints.

  • Regarding Ehler-Danlos syndrome (loose joints - rubber man syndrome) may be possible and that would be confirmed only on your reports.
  • Based on the photo you have sent (attachment removed to protect patient identity), it does not seem to me as symblepharon (adhesion of the eyelid to the eyeball) rather a condition called corneoscleral.
  • Use GenTeal gel 2-3 times (Hypromellose) and GenTeal eye drop every 2 hourly.
  • Also, not necessarily this condition is always post-traumatic, but may be secondary to your systemic condition as well.
  • Now, you said that it gets stuck on awakening. You are lucky that you got successful in separating it from the cornea.
  • Do warm compresses before sleeping, so that it does not stick. Also, you should visit an ophthalmologist because ultimately the treatment is surgical only.
  • Set it operated before it finally gets stuck to your cornea with permanent loss of vision.

For further information consult an eye care ophthalmologist online -->

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