February 19, 2010

Treatment for Eye Discharge

Posted in Category : Common Ailments


All eyes secrete a protective saline solution, which we call tears. This eye discharge helps to keep the eyeball lubricated and moist and helps to flush out foreign matter, such as dust and pollutants. Tears also contain natural enzymes and antibodies that can destroy bacteria that reach the eyes. However, sometimes the eye produces a discharge when it may be irritated. The symptoms usually include a burning sensation in the eyes, itchiness, and mild pain. In most cases, this eye discharge is caused by allergies, chemical irritant (such as shampoo), and pollutions such as cigarette smoke or dust. Most of these cases are perfectly harmless and usually clear up when the eyes are washed out with cool water, removing the irritant. However, cases involving eye discharge linked to allergies need additional treatment. This can help to identify the cause of the allergy and avoid it. Eyes also produce excessive tears in patients suffering from conjunctivitis. This is an infection of the conjunctiva of the eye that is usually caused by viruses. The common symptoms include the characteristic “pink eye” where the blood vessels near the surface of the eyeball rupture. Since conjunctivitis is contagious, it is advised to avoid touching the infected eye. If the eye is touched, the patient should wash hands to remove the virus. In most cases, conjunctivitis does not last more than ten days.

Symptoms and Treatment

A more serious kind of eye discharge consists of liquid that is yellowish-white or greenish. This usually shows a bacterial infection of the eye. In these cases, it is best to visit an eye specialist since antibiotics will be required to suppress the infection. At home, patients can find some relief from the itchiness and burning by applying a cool compress, such as a towel kept inside the fridge for a few minutes. Sometimes the eyelids develop crusts of dried eye discharge, especially in the morning. In most cases, these can be removed by gently washing with cool water. If the crusts are stubborn, try rubbing them with a cotton ball soaked in baby shampoo.

At the drugstore, get some artificial tears; these are saline solutions similar to natural tears. You will also find several over-the-counter eye drops, but these should be used only under a doctor’s supervision. You can safely use the artificial tears five-six times a day to get relief from the symptoms. If you smoke, you should quit immediately, or the irritated eyes will take longer to heal.