Discharge from the eyes may mean you have an eye infection. Infections can be caused by a number of different things.
Common eye infections include:
- scratches or irritations caused by allergies to pollen, dust or smoke can also cause a discharge from your eyes
In babies, a blocked tear duct will cause the eye to water constantly and can cause a sticky discharge.
If you have an eye discharge, you should see your doctor, pharmacist or optometrist. In the meantime, here is how to look after your eyes:
- Make sure you wash your hands thoroughly before cleaning each eye.
- Any eye discharge should be gently cleaned from the eye area — use a separate cotton wool pad soaked in water for each eye, and always wipe from the corner of the eye (nearest the nose) outwards to prevent passing any infection into the other eye.
- Don’t share face washers, towels or make-up with anyone else as you could pass your infection on to them.
- If you wear contact lenses, remove them and wear glasses until your symptoms have disappeared.
- Ensure towels, face washers and bed linen are washed regularly and dried in sunlight if possible.
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Last reviewed: December 2019