Eye - Pus or Discharge
Conjunctivitis - Viral (Pink Eye)
- Yellow or green discharge (pus) in one or both eyes
- Dried pus on the eyelids and eyelashes (eyelashes are likely to be stuck together after sleep)
- May involve one or both eyes
- 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.
- 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 Pink-Eye?
"Pink-Eye" 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 your doctor
Call Your Doctor Now (night or day) If
- You feel weak or very sick
- 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 of 103°F (39.4°C) or higher
Call Your Doctor Within 24 Hours (between 9 am and 4 pm) If
- You think you need to be seen
- Yellow or green discharge or pus in the eye (Reason: you may need antibiotic eye drops)
CARE ADVICE FOR PUS OR DRAINAGE FROM EYE (While You Are Waiting to Talk to Your Doctor)
- 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.
- 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.
- Contact Lenses:
- Switch to glasses for a short time. This will help stop damage to your eye.
- Clean your contacts before wearing them again.
- Throw away used contacts if they are meant to be thrown away.
- 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.
- What to Expect: The yellow discharge should go away in 3 days with treatment. You may have red eyes for more than 3 days.
- Call Your Doctor If:
- You get worse
Author: David A. Thompson, M.D.
Last reviewed: 9/1/2012
Last revised: 7/19/2013 4:09:59 PM