A Yellow Discharge from the Eye

The eye's defense against many infections and foreign bodies usually appears in the form of discharge in the corner. The color of the discharge may vary, though it often appears yellow. Knowing about yellow eye discharge and different symptoms that often accompany it might help prevent continued problems with eye infections or other eye conditions.


The doctor or her technician will check vision and intraocular pressure. She will examine the outside of the eye for signs of redness or irritation and then examine inside the eye to determine the cause of the discharge from the eye. In most cases, the doctor will not need to dilate the pupils for this type of eye examination.

Additional Symptoms

Other symptoms may appear with the yellow discharge, such as itching, redness or changes in vision. The eye may have the sensation of having a foreign body in it, and it might be watery. Some patients also might notice that they have swollen eyelids. Even though doctors can see most symptoms, patients should discuss any changes during the examination since each symptom might help identify the problem.


Yellow discharge from the eye generally results from conjunctivitis, an eye infection frequently also called pink eye. Infections result from a variety of causes, such as seasonal allergies or contact with someone with a contagious condition.


Once the doctor makes a diagnosis, he will know which drops to use for a particular infection. Most will be antibiotics or mild steroids. The doctor will explain how often to use the drops each day and for how long. You might need to take the drops for a few days or a few weeks, depending on the severity of the infection. To prevent the infection from returning, patients should completed the medication schedule, even if symptoms improve in a day or two.

Added Help

Holding a warm wash cloth against the eye at intervals throughout the day might improve symptoms, as long as no other symptoms occur. This technique could help with eyes matted shut from the discharge during the night.

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