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Yellow Eye Discharge: Causes and Treatment Options

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Written by- Gina Walters
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Small quantities of eye discharge are common for healthy eyes. 

Typically, it is normal to wake up with some mucus in the corner of your eyes. 

However, if the discharge seems yellow, it could indicate an underlying eye issue.

Yellow eye discharge, commonly referred to as pus or purulent discharge, is a thick, yellowish substance that may build up in the corners of the eyes or along the eyelashes.

This article will highlight the causes and treatment options for yellow eye discharge.

Causes of yellow eye discharge

Yellow discharge is often seen as  a sign of an underlying bacterial infection. 

Sometimes, yellow eye discharge is also caused by other inflammatory diseases or viral infections.

Pink Eye or Conjunctivitis, Dacryocystitis, Styes, Blepharitis, and other eye conditions, can all result in yellow eye discharge.

Pink Eye or Conjunctivitis

pink eyeSource: pixelshots
Bacterial pink eye

Conjunctivitis is one of the common causes of yellow discharge from the eyes. 

Bacteria can invade the conjunctiva, the thin membrane that covers the white portion of the eye,
leading to yellow or greenish discharge. 

It can frequently lead to itching, swelling, and redness as well.

On the other hand, Viral Pink Eye caused by viral infections might first produce a clear discharge. 

However, it may become yellow or green in color when secondary bacterial infections develop.

Suggestion:
It is advisable to consult an eye specialist if the discharge doesn’t clear up in 2-3 days.

Dacryocystitis

Dacryocystitis is an infection of the tear duct or tear drainage system which can frequently lead to a yellow discharge from the eyes. 

It is often accompanied by red eyes, soreness in the face, and discharge from the puncta (the tear duct entrance). 

The condition can worsen if antibiotics are not taken immediately.

Green eye discharge can be more serious. Read our article: ‘ Understanding Green Eye Discharge: Causes and Treatments’ to know more. 

Styes

Yellow discharge from the eyes could result from Stye.

Stye is a painful red lump on or beneath the eyelid due to blocked and infected oil glands or eyelash follicles. 

It may result in a red, swelling lump with yellow pus around the edge of the eyelid. 

The majority of styes clear up on their own, but if they pop, the infection could spread.

Blepharitis

This is an inflammation of the edges of the eyelids that is frequently brought on by a growth of bacteria. 

Blepharitis can result in crusting and yellow discharge around the eyelashes.

Other eye conditions

yellow eye dischargeSource: pixelshots
Woman suffering yellow eye discharge

Other issues related to eyes, such as dry eyes and corneal ulcers, can also lead to yellow discharge from the eyes.

Chronic dry eyes can result in a higher risk of bacterial infections.

This, in turn, can lead to yellow eye discharge.

Also, a corneal ulcer, an open sore or lesion on the cornea, may cause a yellow color discharge from the eyes.

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How to treat yellow eye discharge

The particular course of treatment for yellow eye discharge is based on the underlying cause.

Usually, yellow discharge caused by viral infections or allergies goes away on its own. 

However, if the condition is due to bacterial infections, then immediate medical attention is required to treat the illness.

Bacterial infections, if left untreated, may worsen and cause damage to the eyes. 

Doctors generally recommend antibiotic eye drops or ointments to treat bacterial eye infections

If necessary, they can give you cold compresses or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicine to relieve the discomfort. 

Even though you could feel better in a few days, it’s essential to finish the course of treatment.

Warning:
A substantial increase in discharge from your eyes may be a symptom of serious eye conditions like corneal ulcers.

Conclusion

Yellow discharge from the eyes is frequently a sign of an underlying eye problem, most commonly an infection. 

Styes, Blepharitis, corneal ulcers, and viral or Bacterial Pink Eye are common causes.

It is required to get immediate medical assistance from an eye care specialist or healthcare provider if you encounter yellow eye discharge. 

A comprehensive evaluation is required to identify the root reason and get the right care. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

What does yellow discharge from the eye mean?

Yellow discharge from the eye means you have an infection, particularly a bacterial infection. 
However, yellow eye discharge may also indicate other eye conditions, such as Stye, Viral Conjunctivitis, Blepharitis, and corneal ulcers. 

Why is my eye discharge yellow?

Yellow eye discharge may indicate a bacterial infection or other eye conditions like Stye and Blepharitis.

Can allergies cause yellow eye discharge?

Yes, yellow eye discharge can be brought on by allergies. 
However, it may go on its own without needing treatment.

How to treat yellow eye discharge in newborns?

Yellow eye discharge in newborns can be treated by massaging blocked tear ducts. 
If bacterial infection is the cause behind the discharge, the doctor may prescribe antibiotics to treat the condition.

Can Viral Pink Eye have a yellow discharge?

Usually, Viral Pink Eye causes a white or watery discharge. 
However, in some cases, the discharge can be yellowish when secondary bacterial infection occurs.

Citations:
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