Eye Gunk: Is It A Problem?

Macular Degeneration | Stuart P. Sondheimer, MD | Deerfield IL Your eyes are designed to protect your vision from the damaging effects of the environment, and sometimes this includes flushing out irritants with your tears. Discharge from the eyes can be benign or may indicate that you should schedule an appointment with your eye care professional to be screened for macular degeneration and other conditions.

What Color is the Discharge?

The color of your eye discharge may give some insight as to what is irritating your eyes.

  • Clear, watery discharge from the eyes may indicate a tearing disorder, macular degeneration, allergies and several other common conditions
  • Yellow discharge may be a sign of a developing stye
  • Bacterial infections, such as conjunctivitis (“pink eye”) cause greyish or green discharge
  • Red discharge is typically a mixture of tears and blood that result from trauma to the eye
  • Small pieces of white discharge in your eyes when you wake up may mean that you have dry eye

Does Eye Gunk Require Treatment?

An eye doctor should evaluate most types of eye gunk to ensure that the problem is not serious. Even excessive tearing could indicate a tear in your cornea or another issue that needs attention. You should also pay attention to any changes in your vision. Macular degeneration not only causes clear discharge but also isolated changes to your field of vision, such as blind spots, distortion, and blurriness. Even in the cases of infections and allergies, treatment can alleviate the problem and protect your eyes from becoming more irritated and sensitive.

How Should I Manage Eye Gunk?

No one likes to have eye gunk, but you should use caution when clearing the dried or fluid discharge from your eyes. Never rub your eyes as this can spread any bacteria, viruses or allergens. You can use a clean washcloth that has been moistened with lukewarm water. Gently press the washcloth on the eyes to soften any dried discharge. Cotton swabs can also be used but use a very light touch as the cotton fibers may loosen and get trapped in your eyes. Avoid wearing your contact lenses until you see an eye doctor.

Do You Have Eye Discharge or Problems with Your Vision? Contact Dr. Stuart Sondheimer.

To learn more about screenings for macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma, pterygium and other eye problems, contact Dr. Stuart Sondheimer to schedule an appointment. Our office in Skokie serves patients in the Chicago area, and you can contact us at (847) 677-2794.

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