Eye discharge is the result of fluid secretion from the eye. It can appear in various forms, such as clear and watery tears or even thick-coloured discharge. Any change in colour and consistency (other than the normal crust at the corner of the eye every morning or tears) is indicative of an underlying condition.

What are the types of eye discharge?

Some of the most common types are:

  • Sleep crust: morning mucus at the corner of the eye due to excess oil, debris, and skin cells. 
  • Thick eye mucus: indicating a bacterial infection with grey, green, or yellow discharge.
  • Watery mucus: indicating a viral infection such as pink eye or conjunctivitis. 
  • Stringy mucus: indicating dry eye syndrome. 
  • Eye discharge with a bump: indicating a stye or chalazion with blocked eyelid glands.

Symptoms of eye discharge

Eye discharge is commonly associated with several kinds of eye infections. Some of the symptoms you may notice are:

  • Redness
  • Itchiness
  • Blurred Vision
  • Eye pain
Causes of eye discharge

Several factors could be the root cause of eye discharge: 

  • Bacterial infection
  • Viral infection
  • Foreign object in the eye
  • Blocked tear duct
  • Allergy
  • Chronic dry eye syndrome
  • Eye cellulitis (deep infection of the eyelid)
  • Corneal ulcer
When to see a doctor

In case of normal or benign eye discharge, you do not need to see a doctor. In case you notice any change in colour, frequency, or consistency, accompanied by other symptoms such as redness or eye pain, it is essential to seek the advice of a medical professional. Keep an eye for the following symptoms as well:

  • High-grade fever
  • Blurry vision or red, swollen eyelid
  • Eye pus
  • Increasing eye pain 
Remedies and treatment options for eye discharge

Doctors conduct a physical examination of the eye to diagnose the underlying cause of eye discharge. They may recommend antibiotics, eye drops, decongestants, or further tests for better diagnosis. 

Some of the most common ways to prevent eye discharge are:

  • Practice good hand hygiene and eye hygiene
  • Do not pick your eyes
  • Keep your eyes hydrated with doctor-recommended artificial eye drops
  • Remember to remove any oil or makeup with a clean, damp cloth or cotton
  • If you wear lenses, remove them every night 
Summing Up

While eye discharge is not a life-threatening medical condition, certain kinds of discharge indicate poor eye health, infections, or allergies.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Eye Discharge

Eye discharge, when benign, could indicate sleep crust. But if you notice any grey, green, or yellow discharge which is thick in nature, it could be indicative of:

  • Bacterial or viral infection
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Chronic dry eye syndrome
  • Allergy
  • Blocked tear duct
  • Corneal ulcer

Not all types of eye discharge indicate an eye infection. If your eye is swollen, itchy, red, and secretes a green, yellow or grey discharge, it could be an eye infection. It is advisable to seek the opinion of a healthcare professional in this regard.

Green discharge from one or both eyes indicates a bacterial infection. While allergies cause white or clear discharge, it could also turn green if the eye is infected. Certain kinds of eye allergies also cause conjunctivitis.

Certain medical conditions such as viral infections or ear infections sometimes result in eye discharge. In such cases, you must seek the advice of a doctor for further evaluation. Your treatment will depend on the severity of your condition.

Yellow discharge is a common symptom of a bacterial infection. Typically, it is not harmful to your vision if you receive the appropriate treatment at the right time. Along with yellow discharge, you may also notice symptoms such as:

  • Mucus or pus
  • Red-eye or puffy eyelids
  • Constant discharge even after wiping it away
  • Sensitivity to light

Disclaimer: The information provided herein is accurate, updated and complete as per the best practices of the Company. Please note that this information should not be treated as a replacement for physical medical consultation or advice. We do not guarantee the accuracy and the completeness of the information so provided. The absence of any information and/or warning to any drug shall not be considered and assumed as an implied assurance of the Company. We do not take any responsibility for the consequences arising out of the aforementioned information and strongly recommend you for a physical consultation in case of any queries or doubts.