Different treatments for eye discharge include antibiotics, eye drops, and hot or cold compresses. In addition, washing the eye with a mild cleanser such as baby shampoo is sometimes recommended by eye doctors, because it gently cleans away drainage, crustiness, and bacteria. Typically, eye discharge is the result of an infection such as conjunctivitis, or pink eye. This condition not only causes eye discharge, it also causes gives eye a pink appearance that is accompanied by tearing, itching, and discomfort. Sometimes, allergic reactions and foreign objects in the eye can cause eye discharge as well.
When a systemic infection is present, such as an upper respiratory infection, it is not uncommon for an individual to get an eye infection and subsequent eye discharge. When this occurs, the doctor might prescribe oral antibiotics to get rid of the systemic infection. As the infection clears up, the eye symptoms will generally resolve as well. If, however, infection is limited to the eye, the doctor might only prescribe an antibiotic ointment or eye drops. Eye allergies are typically the result of hay fever, allergic reaction to cats, and seasonal allergies. In these cases, antihistamines are generally effective in clearing up allergic eye symptoms such as discharge.
Occasionally, a sty in, or around the eye can produce irritation and eye discharge. When a sty is present, treatment usually includes applying hot compresses to the eye throughout the day. This cleanses the area and decreases pain, inflammation, and eye discharge. Sometimes people prefer cold compresses, and, when applicable, hot and cold packs can be alternated throughout the day. It is important to frequently change the compresses because re-using the same one can cause a re-introduction of bacteria into the eye, worsening the condition and preventing resolution of the infection.
Injury to the eye, such as an abrasion to the cornea, can sometimes cause significant irritation and eye discharge. Generally, corneal abrasions heal quickly, and require no treatment. When deep or severe abrasions occur, however, numbing eye drops might be prescribed, as well as ophthalmic antibiotics.
Rarely, the physician will patch the injured eye in order to allow it to rest. Patching also prevents bacteria from entering the eye, allowing it to heal and limiting exposure to irritating bright light. Although discharge from the eye is seldom a serious condition, when persistent or long-lasting, further medical evaluation might be needed to determine the cause, and prevent permanent eye damage.