Eye Discharge

Content provided by the Faculty of the Harvard Medical School

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Please keep in mind that this information cannot replace a face-to-face evaluation with your own health care provider. It is meant to provide helpful information while you are awaiting further evaluation, or to supplement what you may have already learned after evaluation with your doctors.

Before you are asked a series of questions about the details of your symptoms, it is important to determine whether you have a condition that warrants immediate, urgent or emergency care. For example, a discharge from the eye accompanied by swelling of the hands or face, itching and hives could indicate a severe allergic reaction warranting immediate medical care. Vision loss, facial muscle weakness or eye pain are other "alert" symptoms.

Fortunately, most people with a discharge from the eye have a minor -- but very annoying -- condition, such as a cold or allergies.

The type of discharge can vary, depending on the cause. Excessive tears can cause "watery" eyes while a bacterial infection is often accompanied by a discharge that is thick and yellow.

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Medical Reviewer: LeWine, Howard MD Last Annual Review Date: 2006-05-03T00:00:00-06:00

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