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Mucus fishing syndrome
  1. Ryan L. J. Chiew1,
  2. Denise T. M. Au Eong2 and
  3. Kah Guan Au Eong1,3,4
  1. 1International Eye Cataract Retina Centre, Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre and Farrer Park Medical Centre, Singapore
  2. 2Department of General Medicine, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Singapore
  3. 3Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, Singapore
  4. 4Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
  1. Correspondence to Adjunct Associate Professor Kah Guan Au Eong; aueongkahguan{at}


Mucus fishing syndrome is a chronic inflammatory ocular surface condition characterised by repetitive self-extraction of mucous strands from the eye.

A man in his 30s presented with bilateral ocular redness, itch, irritation, tearing and sticky mucoid discharge for 3 months. Examination disclosed bilateral bulbar and tarsal conjunctival injection. Fluorescein staining disclosed a well-circumscribed area of tarsal conjunctival epithelial defect near the inferior lacrimal punctum in both eyes. The patient admitted to a habit of mechanically removing mucus from his eyes several times a day. Demonstration of the mucus extraction process disclosed direct contact of his fingers with the excoriated tarsal conjunctiva in each eye. He was diagnosed with mucus fishing syndrome and his condition resolved within a month after he stopped fishing mucus from his eyes and had a course of topical antibiotics and steroids.

Mucus fishing syndrome is an important diagnostic consideration in patients with chronic conjunctivitis.

  • Eye
  • General practice / family medicine
  • Ophthalmology

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  • Contributors RLJC drafted the manuscript. DTMAE and KGAE critically revised and edited the manuscript. All authors approved the final version of the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Case reports provide a valuable learning resource for the scientific community and can indicate areas of interest for future research. They should not be used in isolation to guide treatment choices or public health policy.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.