- Yellow or green discharge (pus) in one or both eyes
- Dried pus on the eyelids and eyelashes. The eyelashes are especially likely to be matted together following sleep
- May involve one or both eyes
Types of Conjunctivitis:
- 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.
- 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.
"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:
- 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)
- 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
See More Appropriate Topic (instead of this one) If
WHEN TO CALL YOUR DOCTOR
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
- Cloudy spot or sore seen on the cornea (clear center part of the eye)
- Fever of 103° F (39.4° C) or higher
Call Your Doctor Within 24 Hours (between 9 am and 4 pm) 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)
- 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.
- Eyelid Cleansing:
- Gently wash eyelids and lashes with warm water and wet cotton balls (or cotton gauze). Remove all the dried and liquid pus.
- Do this as often as needed.
- 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).
- Expected Course: With treatment, the yellow discharge should clear up in 3 days. The red eyes may persist for several more days.
- Contagiousness: Pink Eye is extremely contagious. Try not to touch your eyes. Wash your hands frequently. Do not share towels.
- Call Your Doctor If:
And remember, contact your doctor if you 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.
Author and Senior Reviewer: David A. Thompson, M.D.
Last Reviewed: 9/15/2011
Last Revised: 9/21/2007
Content Set: Adult HouseCalls Symptom Checker
Copyright 2000-2012. Self Care Decisions LLC; LMS, Inc.