Eye Discharge and Drainage – Causes and Treatment

Eye Discharge and Drainage

Any time that our bodies produce what seem to be foreign substances, that are out of the normal, it can be a cause for great concern. You may have experienced a cut or scratch in your life, and while it was healing, it may have produced some discharge that might have been from a small infection or just part of the healing process.

Well, our eyes can do the same thing and drainage or discharge that comes from our eyes is generally going to be a bit scary and confusing. There are several causes as to why we produce eye discharge, and they can range in severity and type of treatment necessary. Hopefully, this article will help answer some questions, especially if you’ve ever experienced eye drainage and didn’t quite know the cause or reason behind it.

Different Types of Eye Discharge

Eye discharge can range anywhere from a little bit of that morning “sleep” in the corners of your eyes all the way up to thick, heavy mucus globs that can impair vision, cause eyelids to stick, and more.

  • “Sleep” 

This is normal eye discharge and regularly occurs in most people’s eyes. While you sleep, a combination of mucus, oil, skin cells and other debris gather in the corner of the eye, as it is flushed from the eye. Depending on the amount of liquid present, this type of discharge can be sticky or hard and crusty.

  • Rheum

Our eyes produce mucus throughout the day as it is one of the three components of our tears that keep our eyes lubricated and help remove foreign debris.

  • Excessive mucus

Especially when it is green or yellow in color and is accompanied by blurry vision, light sensitivity or pain, is a strong indication of infection or disease. This is the type of eye discharge to seek medical treatment for.

Common Causes for Abnormal Eye Discharge

Conjunctivitis, commonly known as pink eye, is a relatively common infection that causes inflammation of the conjunctiva. This is the thin membrane that lines the outer portion of the eye and the inner surface of the eyelid. People can experience itchy, gritty, irritated, and red eyes along with excessive mucus discharge (white, yellow or even green in color) that can be severe enough to seal eyelids shut when hardened. There are three types of conjunctivitis.

  • Viral

This type is extremely contagious and is caused by a virus similar to the common cold. Viral conjunctivitis typically produces a clear and watery discharge but may be pale yellow in color.

  • Bacterial

Caused by bacteria that enters the eye, this type of conjunctivitis can lead to blindness, if not treated quickly and properly. The discharge commonly associated with a bacterial pink eye is much thicker in consistency than viral, and it is often yellow, green or even gray in color.

Triggered by allergens such as dust, pollen, or other common irritants. The eye discharge is most often watery. This type is not contagious, unlike the first two types, and always affects both eyes.

Eye Discharge and Drainage

Several other eye infections and conditions can cause abnormal eye discharge, and they include:

  • Eye herpes – recurrent viral eye infection
  • Fungal keratitis – inflammation of the cornea, it is a rare but serious condition
  • Acanthamoeba keratitis – caused by a parasite, this condition can cause blindness. The most common forms of contraction are from improper contact lens hygiene or swimming while wearing contacts.
  • Corneal ulcer
  • Blepharitis – chronic eyelid disorder that can affect either the eyelash hair follicle or the Meibomian glands. This can cause foamy eye discharge and crusting.
  • Dacryocystitis – this occurs when a tear duct is blocked, and the lacrimal sac in the tear drainage system becomes swollen, tender, and infected. This causes stick eye discharge as a symptom.

When to Seek Eye Discharge Treatment?

If you experience sudden and abnormal eye discharge, of any type, you should see your eye doctor as soon as possible. Eye discharge treatment should be taken seriously because there are several severe conditions, infections, and diseases that can cause eye discharge, and catching it early is always better.

Eye health is extremely important, especially for seeing as clearly as possible. Good vision is important to us, at Diamond Vision, and we prove that by providing the very best treatment and procedures available, to help our patients achieve the best vision they can.

If you are seeking to improve your vision, visit our website to schedule a free consultation, and learn about what options would be the best for your vision.

For in-person information, visit our Laser Eye Surgery Center in Atlanta, GA.


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