Eye Pus or Drainage

Symptom Definition

  • Yellow or green discharge or pus in the eye
  • Dried pus on the eyelids and eyelashes. The eyelashes are especially likely to be matted together following sleep
  • The whites of the eye may or may not have some redness or pinkness
  • The eyelids are usually puffy due to irritation from the infection
  • Main Cause: bacterial infection on top of a cold in the eye

See More Appropriate Topic

Call Your Doctor Now (night or day) If

  • Your child looks or acts very sick
  • Eyelid is very red or very swollen
  • Blurred vision reported
  • Fever > 104°F (40°C)
  • Age less then 12 weeks with fever > 100.4°F (38°C) rectally
  • Age < 1 month old (newborn)

Call Your Doctor Within 24 Hours (between 9 and 4) If

  • Yellow/green discharge or pus in the eye, but none of the symptoms described above (Reason: probably needs prescription antibiotic eyedrops to treat it)

Home Care Advice for Pus in the Eye (Pending Talking with Your Doctor)

  1. Reassurance: Bacterial eye infections are a common complication of a cold. They respond to home treatment with antibiotic eyedrops and are not harmful to vision. Until you get a prescription for antibiotic eyedrops from your doctor, remove the pus:
  2. Remove Pus: Remove the dried and liquid pus from the eyelids with warm water and wet cotton balls at least every hour. Once you have antibiotic eyedrops, they will not have a chance to work unless the pus is removed each time before they are put in.
  3. Contact Lenses: Children with contact lenses need to switch to glasses temporarily (Reason: to prevent damage to the cornea)
  4. Contagiousness: Your child can return to day care or school after using antibiotic eyedrops for 24 hours, if the pus is minimal.
  5. Expected Course: With treatment, the yellow discharge should clear up in 3 days. The red eyes (which are part of the underlying cold) may persist for up to a week.
  6. Call Your Doctor If
    • Your child becomes worse or develops any of the “Call Your Doctor” symptoms