Eye - Pus or Discharge

Eye - Pus or Discharge

Is this your symptom?

  • Yellow or green discharge (pus) in one or both eyes
  • Dried pus on the eyelids and eyelashes (eyelashes may be stuck together after sleep)

Some Basics...

  • Conjunctivitis is the medical term for an infection of the white parts of the eye and under the eyelids. This is also called pink eye. It can cause eye pus or discharge.
  • Blurred eyesight or loss of eyesight is almost always serious. If eyesight is still blurry after wiping away the pus, a doctor's exam is needed.
  • Eye pain is also a serious symptom. With normal conjunctivitis, the eyes can be itchy or irritated. However, if it hurts more than this, a doctor's exam is needed.

Causes

  • Allergic Conjunctivitis: Most often has itching and clear-white discharge.
  • Bacterial Conjunctivitis: Most often has thick, white-yellow or green discharge. It is treated with antibiotic eye drops.
  • Chemical Conjunctivitis: Most often has eye irritation and tearing. It can happen after exposure to chemicals or fumes.
  • Viral Conjunctivitis: Most often has thin, clear-white discharge. It is hard to tell the difference between viral and bacterial conjunctivitis. It is often treated with prescription antibiotic eye drops.

What is Pinkeye?

"Pinkeye" is the term for a bacterial or viral infection that causes the conjunctivitis. Symptoms vary and can include:

  • Mild discomfort, burning, or irritation of the eye(s)
  • White portions of the eye(s) may or may not be pink or red
  • Puffy eyelids
  • Tearing or water eyes

When to Call for Eye - Pus or Discharge

Call Doctor Now or Go to ER

  • Eyelid is very red or very swollen
  • Blurry eyesight
  • Eye pain or discomfort is more than mild
  • Cloudy spot or sore on the cornea (clear middle part of eye)
  • Fever over 103° F (39.4° C)
  • You feel weak or very sick
  • You think you need to be seen, and the problem is urgent

Call Doctor Within 24 Hours

  • Yellow or green discharge or pus in the eye (Reason: you may need antibiotic eye drops)
  • Using antibiotic eye drops more than 3 days and pus is still there
  • You think you need to be seen, but the problem is not urgent

Call Doctor During Office Hours

  • You have other questions or concerns

Care Advice for Pus or Discharge from the Eye

  1. What You Should Know:
    • People often get pink eye when they have a cold. You can also get pink eye from someone who has had it recently.
    • Antibiotic eye drops work well to treat pink eye. Pink eye will not harm your eyesight.
    • You can treat eye pus and discharge at home.
    • Here is some care advice that should help.
  2. Eyelid Cleansing:
    • Gently wash eyelids and lashes with warm water. You can use wet cotton balls or wet cotton gauze. Wipe away all of the dried and liquid pus.
    • Do this as often as needed.
  3. Remove Contacts:
    • Take out your contacts. Switch to glasses until your eyes are better.
    • This will help prevent any harm to your eye.
    • Clean your contacts before wearing them again.
    • Throw away used contacts if they are meant to be thrown away.
  4. How It Is Spread:
    • Pink eye is very easy to spread to other people. You can spread it by shaking hands.
    • Try not to touch your eyes.
    • Wash your hands often.
    • Do not share towels.
  5. What to Expect:
    • Most cases of viral pinkeye are mild.
    • It should get better in 7-10 days.
  6. Call Your Doctor If:
    • Blurred vision or increasing pain
    • Not getting better after 7 days
    • You think you need to be seen
    • You get worse

And remember, contact your doctor if you develop any of the 'Call Your Doctor' symptoms.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.


Last Reviewed: 9/22/2017 1:21:51 AM
Last Updated: 5/7/2017 1:36:04 PM

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Conjunctivitis - Viral (Pink Eye)

This patient had viral conjunctivitis (pink-eye).

Symptoms can include:

  • Mild discomfort, burning or irritation of the eye(s)
  • White portions of the eye(s) may or may not be pink or red
  • Eyelids may be puffy due to irritation
  • Tearing
Conjunctivitis - Bacterial

This photo shows conjunctivitis of the right eye caused by bacteria. It requires antibiotic treatment.

With bacterial conjunctivitis there is usually yellow or yellow-green eye discharge. Patients with bacterial conjunctivitis typically report more pain than patients with the less serious viral conjunctivitis.