Snot Coming Out of Eyes - Mucus from Sinusitis

I have cultured positive for strep in throat.  The next day, my sinuses became inflamed and when I blew my nose, I had snot coming out of eyes and it also burned my eyes.  Is this normal?


While this is not what one would consider “normal”, it certainly can happen with a sinus infection (sinusitis).

Strep can not only cause a throat infection, but is a common bacteria causing sinusitis.  When you get a sinus infection it is because the lining of the nose gets so swollen that the sinuses can’t drain. Typically the musus from sinusitis drains through the nose.

However, there are other “tubes” that drain into the nose, which can also get blocked in the same way.  The eustachian tube drains the middle ear fluid into the back of the nose.  If this gets blocked from swelling or congestion in the nose, fluid builds up in the space behind the ear drum and you can get a middle ear infection. (acute otitis media)  This is quite common in children, because their eustachian tubes are shorter, more horizontal and often also blocked partially by adenoids (lymph tissue in the back of the nose).  Adults can get this, of course, also.

The tear ducts are another set of tubes that drain into the nose.  If they get blocked, we often tend to feel that we are making excess tears- as our normal tears can’t drain.  If you blow your nose and the nose is congested- or hold the nose too tightly when you blow- mucus from the nose can go the other way- through the tear ducts and around the eye.  This is likely what is going on in your case.  Be careful not to blow the nose too forcefully while  your nose is congested as the mucus from sinusitis can cause you to get conjunctivitis (pink eye).

I hope this clears things up.

Robert L Pincus MD

Co-Director NY Sinus Center