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What is white eye discharge?

If you wake up early you might be surprised to find some eye gunk around your eyelids.

Eye mucus usually settles at corners while you sleep.

Sometimes removing the skin with fingers is easy but sometimes the eyelids feel firmly closed.

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 the corners of your eyes throughout the day.  This is called white eye discharge.

Eye mucus tends to settle in the corners of your eyes while you are sleeping.

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.

Eye discharge is very common, commonly characterized as sneezing, “gunking or sleeping” in your eye.  White eye discharge.

The discharge may have white, green, blue, white or bloody color.

Although it is usually harmless it may cause serious damage to the eyesight but can also cause serious injury.

Abnormal eye discharge is usually either yellow or green in color, and is sometimes accompanied by eye pain, sensitivity to light, and blurry vision.

If there is enough discharge to cause the eyelids to stick shut in the morning, a person should speak to an eye doctor to rule out an infection.

What is white eye discharge? Is it normal?

All eyes are filled with blood or sluggish fluids in the wake of sleep.

The discharge is a collection of irritants accumulated around eyes and around the eyes during sleep.

Because tears are collected out of our eyes during sleep, they can’t be detected from inside the tear ducts. You wake up with crusted / dusty skin and you have an easy way of removing it.

These substances usually have yellow or white tints.

Sometimes, eye discharge indicates an even greater problem.

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.

White Eye Discharge or Yellow Balls of Mucus

White scums in a wet, dry tear are a common indicator of dacriocystitis—a disease in a nasolacrimal sac.

If you have dacryocytostitis, you can feel swollen and painful skin on your face.

Occasionally, discharge can be seen at puncta, a hole on the eyelid.

Symptoms may develop if antibiotic treatment is not taken quickly – so contact your health care provider if it happens.

Stringy White Mucus

Normally stringy white mucus can cause allergic dermatitis or allergic eye allergy.

Depending on the reaction the eye produces the material that is stuck in your eyes or collects underneath your eyelid or inside the eyelid to form irritants.

Your doctor may suggest artificial tears.

Artificial tears seal your cornea. If the allergies develop, you can take antibiotic eye drops or other medicines.

Small dry particles of mucus

When awake you often find small particles of dust on eye surfaces.

The tears on the skin are largely made from water, oil or mucuses.

When your tears have little oil or water, they dry and accumulate at your corners at dawn.

Dry Eye Treatment consists primarily of drinking water, regularly washing eyes with water throughout the day, not using makeup powder in the eyes, taking artificial tears or taking fish oil pill or warming compressing.

Watery Mucus

Watery tears and some mucus may cause viral infections.

Viral conjunctivitis can cause various symptoms like enlarged eyesight or blurred vision.

Conjunctivitis, also called pink eyes, can be deadly.

Viral conjunctivitis may occur as an upper respiratory viral disease.

Keep hands clean to prevent infection from spreading.

Never share towels with others – wash and cloths that could be in contact with the skin.

It’ll continue to spread itself and is usually resolvable.

Thick Green or Gray Mucus

The mucus is often thick green or gray.

It’s possible there are bacterial infections within the eyes.

Bacteriologic conjunctivitis can result in your eyelids getting locked shut.

Usually eye infections occur from pyogenic bacteria that produce the pus.

It may be bacterial infection when someone wakes up in a stifling state and has no vision.

Other symptoms include redness and irritation.

Conjunctivitis does not cause glaucoma or vision problems long term, but the eyes are red.

Thick, Crusty Mucus

Thick crust on eyelashes can cause blepharotic smears.

Blepharitis can often result from bacteria in your skin.

A bacterium can be growing on eyelids or lashes, forming redness and inflammation.

The lid of an eye also has an elongation or dandruff appearance.

Blepharitis can usually be treated with warm compresses followed by eye scrub.

It is easy to close the eyelid and scrub the face lightly using a hot wash towel in a circular motion.

If possible use Avenova eyelid cleanser as it does not hurt your eyes.

Yellow Mucus

The best way to deal with the yellow mucus in your eye is to see an eye doctor.

Yellow mucus can cause styes.

The eyelid gland can become blocked or infection prone, leaking mucus.

During the time a stye develops it will cause bruising or light sensitivity in your eye.

The eyelid may show red spots or stains inside the eyelids that are internal to the horde.

It can cause a yellowish mark to appear on the center of this stye.

You might want to squeeze the trapped mucus like pimples.

The stye will be exposed to infection.

If there are yellow stains or spots on your skin, consult an eye doctor immediately for more information about the condition.

Causes of white eye discharge

There are many causes, but the most common are from a virus or bacteria, or an allergic reaction.


A baby who has eye discharge similar to that of an adult is usually healthy,

However some newborns have tear ducts that are not fully developed.

This can cause the ducts to become blocked.

Babies with blocked tear ducts may have green or yellow mucus all day and not just when they wake up.

Contact Lenses

Contact lens-related eye infection. Remove your contact lenses promptly and see your eye doctor as soon as possible.

Corneal ulcer

This abscess-like infection of the cornea can result in eye discharge so thick in consistency that it impairs vision. Dacryocystitis: This condition, which results from a blocked tear duct, can cause thick, sticky, eye discharge.

A blocked tear duct :

This can cause sticky, thick eye mucus, and may be painful. An object in the eye : Contact lenses can dry up and become stuck in the eye and may roll near the top of the eyelid. An eyelash or other small object can also irritate the eye.


Conjunctivitis : Also known as pink eye, conjunctivitis will cause your eyes to feel itchy, irritated, and gritty, and produces green, white, or yellow eye mucus that results in severe crusting.

Bacterial Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)

Illustration of a person thinking with cross bandaids. Inflamed eyelid (blepharitis) Disseminated Gonococcal Infection Chlamydia Infection Illustration of a person thinking with cross bandaids.

Eye allergies

Your doctor may also prescribe eye drops to relieve inflammation and discomfort.

Allergic conjunctivitis, is an immune response that occurs when your eye is irritated by allergens such as pollen or dust. This form of conjunctivitis can affect one or both eyes, and may also be accompanied by congestion and eye discharge. Other symptoms associated with eye allergies include: itchiness burning swollen

However, the best way to prevent an allergic reaction and eye irritation is to avoid the known allergen, if possible.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Sexually transmitted infections Symptoms A large amount of oozing, thick discharge (often green or yellow) Blurry vision Eye pain Burning or pain in the front of the eye or the feeling of something being in your eye Eyelid swelling There are a few sexually transmitted infections (STIs) that can cause eye discharge. Gonorrhea can cause a large amount of discharge, severely inflamed eyes, and infection or inflammation.

Treatment Both gonorrhea and chlamydia can be treated with oral antibiotics and eye drops.

Eyelid Cellulitis

Eyelid Cellulitis (Serious). This is a deep infection of the eyelid and tissues around it. The main symptom is a red, swollen, very tender eyelid. The eye can be swollen shut. Usually only on one side. This can be a problem caused by bacterial conjunctivitis. The eye infection spreads inward. More commonly this is caused by an ethmoid sinus infection. That type occurs without any pus in the eye. Symptoms of Bacterial Eye Infection Yellow or green discharge or pus in the eye Dried pus on the eyelids and eyelashes

Summary of white eye discharge

Gunk around our eyes means a number of things. Most people who have dry eyes are not serious. They can probably leave the room by themselves or improve themselves with a simple house treatment. Do not take a test to make sure that it looks clean and free of dirt. Also, consult a physician if your mucuses have been persistently painful or have affected your vision.

Treatments of white eye discharge

Your doctor may also use one of the following to clear up the eye discharge: Prescription antibiotic drops. Prescription antibiotic pills Prescription steroids or other medications for allergic conjunctivitis Tear duct stent placement Incision and drainage of inflamed tear duct.

the best way to prevent an allergic reaction and eye irritation is to avoid the known allergen, if possible.

Managing & Preventing White Eye Discharge at Home

If you want your eyes to clean up if they come out of it, then you should rub them or put them under your skin. If something accidentally gets stuck in an eye, it will cause an eye infection. You should wash the skin of your eyes with soap and water if it is accidentally contaminated with saline. Don’t wipe it up. Take care of your hands. You’re less prone if you use bare hands to avoid eye infection. If it appears as though you have eyes that leak out of your eyes, rinse them out of hot water or use clean towels.

There are some at-home treatments that may help clear up your eye discharge: Avoid possible allergens, like pollen and dust. Use cool or warm compresses.

White Eye Discharge may have medical causes that require treatment

Usually rhem and sleeping gathered around eyes, eyelids, and hair can be avoided at the beginning of the day. In most cases the underlying condition is an eye infection and it produces a lot of bleeding. Symptoms of eyes irritants and bleeding are listed below:

Changes in White Eye Discharge Indicate Changes in Your Eye Health

The slight irritation in one’s eyes, particularly at the time of sleep, can be expected. But if the color of discharges is different or the frequency is inconsistent, contact your optometrist. If you notice any irritation in your eyes or if your eye discharge causes any irritation or redness, you may have to consult your doctor immediately. Sticky eyes A common symptom that can cause the discharge of the eye on babies has been called sticky eyes. It will be sticky in your newborn eyes. Unlike infections, sticky eyes are no cause for irritation.

When to see a doctor?

Eye discharge quiz Take a quiz to find out what’s causing your discharge. Take eye discharge quiz When to call the doctor Your eye discharge symptoms last for more than a week. You wear contact lenses. You were previously diagnosed with a chronic eye condition, like allergic conjunctivitis, and your symptoms

Frequently Asked Questions

What causes white discharge from eyes?

White eye discharge causes include dry eyes, conjunctivitis (pink eye), allergies, corneal ulcer, and blocked tear duct.  See your eye doctor if home remedies do not work for you.

How do I get rid of white eye discharge?

Treatment for white eye discharge include antibiotic drops, allergy eye drops, dry eye treatments like TheraLfe and sometimes steroid drops to calm down inflammation.

What does eye infection discharge look like?

This discharge can be white, yellow or yellow green.    Yellow and green color typically indicates infections.

What causes white discharge in corner of eye?

White eye discharge causes include dry eyes, conjunctivitis (pink eye), allergies, corneal ulcer, and blocked tear duct.  See your eye doctor if home remedies do not work for you.

How do you get rid of white eye discharge?

Get rid of your white eye discharge by treating dry eyes, allergies and eye infections.


A small amount of clear, white or ivory-colored eye discharge is normal (as long as it isn’t sticky). This is the product of your tear film clearing the surface of your eyes from dust and other cellular debris. Some of this discharge may be the oil and mucus of the tear film that remains after the watery component of your tears evaporates.

White eye discharge can be caused by a number of eye conditions. In some cases, this symptom is no cause for alarm. However, if it becomes excessive or is accompanied by irregular symptoms, you should visit a doctor. There are home treatments to help with symptoms, but antibiotics and other professional medical attention may be necessary to improve your condition.

If, however, you notice a change in the amount or consistency of eye discharge along with other symptoms like itchy or painful eyes, light sensitivity, or blurry vision, get it checked by your doctor to make sure it isn’t an infection or an injury.

References UPMC HealthBeat en español Eye Health How To Treat Eye Discharge 1 Minute Read Medically Reviewed by Eye Center January 30, 2016

When Should I Be Concerned About Eye Discharge? Medically reviewed by Alana Biggers, M.D., MPH READ MORE Relief in the Blink of an Eye Find out how to relieve dry eye, bloodshot eyes, tired eyes, and more

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