Your eyes make mucus throughout the day. When you blink, your tears wash out the mucus, along with any dirt or other particles. The sticky or crusty debris that builds up when you sleep is usually oil, skin cells, mucus, and other materials that have gotten in your eyes throughout the day.
A small amount of white or yellow discharge, whether it is crusty or moist, is rarely anything to worry about. It is usually your eyes’ normal reaction to the environment, or just keeping itself clean.
Causes of Eye Discharge
Some common causes of eye discharge include things as simple as allergies and dryness, or a dirty contact lens. More serious causes of discharge include:
- An infection – either bacterial or viral
- Blepharitis (which is an inflammation of the eyelids)
- Blocked tear ducts
Typically, a dry crusty discharge is caused by a low concern issue like blepharitis or dryness. A watery discharge is frequently caused by a viral infection or allergies. The mucky yellow, wet discharge is usually caused by a bacterial infection.
Treatment for Eye Discharge
The best home treatment for a minor eye discharge problem is a lubrication drop and a warm clean compress. Keeping the eyes and lids clean will help your body resolve the problem on its own.
Spotting an Infection
Sometimes eye discharge can be a warning sign of something more significant that may need the attention of an expert. It is important to call your eye specialist right away if your eye discharge is associated with:
- Vision changes
- Light sensitivity
Eye infections can sometimes be spread from one eye to another or from person to person so make sure that you wash all clothes, towels, and pillow cases that come in contact with discharge. Cosmetic brushes should also be replaced, especially mascara.
To schedule an appointment at one of the UPMC Eye Center locations, call 412-647-2200.