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Mucus fishing syndrome


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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