EYE, PUS OR DRAINAGE

Symptom Definition

  • Yellow or green discharge (pus) in the eye
  • Dried pus on the eyelids and eyelashes. The eyelashes are especially likely to be matted together following sleep.
  • May involve one or both eyes

General Information

  • Conjunctivitis is a medical term that means there is irritation or infection involving the white parts of the outer eye and the area under the eyelids.
  • Types of Conjunctivitis:
    • Bacterial conjunctivitis (typically, thick white-yellow or green discharge) requires prescription antibiotic eye drops.
    • Viral conjunctivitis (thin, clear-white discharge) is often difficult to distinguish from bacterial conjunctivitis, thus antibiotic eye drops are often prescribed.
    • Allergic conjunctivitis (itching, clear-white discharge)
    • Chemical conjunctivitis from exposure to chemicals, fumes (eye irritation, tearing)
  • "Pink-Eye" is the term used when either a bacterial or a viral infection is causing the conjunctivitis. Depending on the severity, symptoms 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
    • Eyelids may be puffy due to irritation
    • Tearing
  • Caution: Individuals with blurred vision or significant eye pain need to be seen by a physician urgently, as significant eye pain and blurred vision do not generally occur in people with conjunctivitis.

See More Appropriate Topic (instead of this one) If


WHEN TO CALL YOUR DOCTOR FOR PUS OR DRAINAGE FROM THE EYE

Call Your Doctor Now (night or day) If:

  • You feel weak or very sick
  • Eyelid is very red or very swollen
  • Blurred vision
  • Eye pain or discomfort is more than mild  
  • Fever of 103 F (39.4 C) or higher

Call Your Doctor Within 24 Hours (between 9am and 4pm) If:

  • You think you need to be seen
  • Yellow or green discharge or pus in the eye (Reason: probably needs prescription antibiotic eye drops to treat it)

HOME CARE ADVICE FOR PUS OR DRAINAGE FROM EYE (PENDING TALKING WITH YOUR DOCTOR)

  1. Reassurance: Pink Eye is a common complication of a cold or it can be acquired from exposure to a child or adult who has had it recently. Pink Eye responds to treatment with antibiotic eye drops and is not harmful to vision.
  2. Remove Pus: Remove all the dried and liquid pus from the eye with warm water and wet cotton balls (or cotton gauze). Do this as often as needed.
  3. Contacts:
    • Individuals with contact lenses need to switch to glasses temporarily. (Reason: to prevent damage to the cornea)
    • Disinfect the contacts before wearing them again (or discard them if disposable)
  4. Expected Course: With treatment, the yellow discharge should clear up in 3 days. The red eyes may persist for several more days.
  5. Contagiousness: Pink Eye is extremely contagious. Try not to touch your eyes. Wash your hands frequently. Do not share towels.
  6. Call Your Doctor If:
    • You become worse or develop any of the "Call Your Doctor" symptoms.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.

Adult HouseCalls Online. Copyright © 2000-2004 David Thompson, M.D. FACEP

Reviewed 8/2004

Revised 8/2004

See Other Topics:

View Anatomic Index of Topics