Why do we wake up with crusties or sleep in our eyes? Aaron Craig, Cordova, TN
People have given that stuff we get out of our eyes in the morning many different names. Some call it matter; others call it sleep, sleepy, crusties, or eye boogers. But whatever it is called, there is no denying that we all have it and would like to know what it is.
Many years ago, some scientists said that evolution was a fact because the human body supposedly contained parts that didn't do anything. For a long time it was thought that organs such as the tonsils and the appendix were useless leftovers of evolution. These parts were called vestigial (ve-STIJ-ee-al) organs. The word vestigial means a trace or a mark left by something, much like a footprint. It was thought that these useless organs were marks or footprints of evolution.
One of those organs was the plica (PLY-ka) semilunaris (sem-ee-LOO-ner-is), which is located around the eye. For many years, this organ was thought to have no function. But lo and behold, eventually it was discovered that this useless organ has an important function after all.
In fact, it is the crusty factory. It secretes a sticky mass that collects any foreign materials such as dust or pollen. All this trash is surrounded by the sticky gook so that it does not scratch the sensitive cornea in your eye. Once the garbage is collected, the plica semilunaris escorts it out of the eye just like a security guard would escort noisy troublemakers out of a theater.
Lets all give the plica semilunaris a big hand for doing such a great job of taking out the trash in our eyes. And remember, there are no footprints of evolution in your body because your body did not evolve-God designed it!