Healthy eyes will produce mucus both day and night. This type of discharge is important for eye health. It protects your eyes by removing dust and other potentially harmful debris from the front of your eye and its tear film. During the day while you are awake, the mucus is flushed away when you blink your eyes. However, while you sleep at night, this discharge can accumulate and cause a crust to form in the corners of your eye or along your lash line.
How Do You Know When Discharge in Not Normal?
Some discharge in your eyes is normal. But what is not normal is if it suddenly becomes excessive, yellow or green-colored, or is accompanied by pain or other symptoms like light sensitivity or blurry vision. These symptoms could be a sign of a serious infection or injury to your eye(s) that puts your eye health in jeopardy. It could also be a sign of eye disease.
Conditions Associated with Abnormal Eye Discharge
It is always best to schedule an appointment with your eye doctor when abnormal eye discharge occurs. Depending on your symptoms, it could be caused by one of the following common eye conditions:
- Conjunctivitis or “pink eye,” which is an inflammation of the eye’s conjunctiva, and could be caused by allergy, virus, or bacteria. Allergic conjunctivitis often causes watery discharge and is not contagious. Viral and bacterial conjunctivitis causes a thicker, pus-like, colored discharge and is extremely contagious.
- Dry eye that is caused by an imbalance in normal tear production or if your tear glands stop producing tears. Your nervous system will try to compensate by producing emergency tears that may not contain the right balance of water, mucus, oils, and antibodies. This could also cause abnormal eye discharge.
- Irritation or infection related to contact lens use, including fungal keratitis or dry and irritated eyes that have caused you to rub your eyes while wearing your lens. If you experience a change in eye discharge when wearing your contacts, do not wear them until after seeing your eye doctor to evaluate your eye health.
- An eye injury, including a foreign body in your eye, like dirt or a corneal ulcer. An eye doctor should promptly examine any known or suspected eye injury.
- Eye conditions like sties, blocked tear ducts, or blepharitis can cause an increase of eye discharge.
Depending on the issue causing the discharge, your eye doctor may prescribe eye drops or ointments to treat it. You may also be able to relieve any discomfort with warm compresses, which will also help remove dried discharge from your eye.
If you have noticed a change or are concerned about eye discharge, book an appointment with a Valley Eyecare Center eye doctor today! Give us a call at 602-955-2700 or schedule your appointment online.