What is eye discharge?

Eye discharge is the secretion of liquids or other substances, besides tears, from the eyes. Discharge from the eyes may make it difficult to open the eyelids if they have been shut for extended periods, such as during sleep. This effect may be temporary or persistent.

Eye discharge can vary in color and consistency, depending on the underlying cause. Most discharge will be clear, green or yellow in color and can range in consistency from a liquid to a sticky, gel-like substance.

Eye discharge can be caused by a wide variety of conditions affecting the eye directly or from conditions that affect your whole body, such as the common cold. Eye discharge is often caused by allergies or infection. Although most causes of eye discharge are not serious, you should contact your health care provider if you have persistent or severe eye discharge, such as discharge that makes it difficult to open your eyes.

In most cases, eye discharge is not a serious condition. Persistent or severe discharge may be an indication of a serious underlying condition or disease. If eye discharge is persistent or severe or if you notice eye discharge for several days, even if it is temporary each day, or if your eye discharge causes you concern, seek prompt medical care.

Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you have sudden change in vision, loss of vision, eye pain, or bulging eyes, or if you have a high fever (higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit).


What other symptoms might occur with eye discharge?

Eye discharge may accompany other symptoms, which vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. These symptoms may apply to the eyes or vision specifically, or they may be more general in nature.

Other eye or vision symptoms that may occur along with eye discharge

Eye discharge may accompany other symptoms affecting the eyes or vision including:
... Read more about eye dischargesymptoms


What causes eye discharge?

Eye discharge can be caused by a variety of conditions that range in severity from merely bothersome to vision threatening. If you have persistent or severe eye discharge, consult with your health care professional to determine the underlying cause and to get treatment as needed.

Common causes of eye discharge

Eye discharge may be caused by common events or conditions i... Read more about eye dischargecauses

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 9, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Eyes and Vision

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