What Causes White Discharge From My Eyes?

White eye discharge may be caused by several eye conditions. They include inflammation, eye herpes, and cataracts.

a child with corneal ulcer on right eye

White eye discharge can be caused by several eye conditions that people can have. In most situations, this is caused by mild conditions like infections. It’s still important to get it checked out to find out what’s wrong. Your eye doctor can provide an exam and order tests to help identify a diagnosis for whatever’s causing the symptoms.

What Causes Eye Discharge?

People blink up to 20 times per minute. When this happens, it provides protection and cleansing for the eye. It also helps to wash away mucus that the eyes produce throughout the day. Blinking is a reflex that happens all day, yet it’s automatic, so we don’t even think about it.

One key factor is that when we sleep, we don’t blink away the bad stuff. That helps to explain the ‘sleepers” that we wake up in the morning, a stuff buildup like mucus that collects in the eyes as we sleep.

There also might be a cream-colored mucus that shows up around the eyes. That results when stuff like dust or sand causes the eye to become irritated. It’s a normal reaction and is an effective way the eye gets cleaned.

It’s worth noting that when you experience eye discharge. It is a sign of something that can’t be linked/wiped away. So it’s something that you should get diagnosed and treated to deal with it effectively.

A blocked tear duct is one of the common causes of eye discharge. Each eyeball has a tear gland above it. It’s used to make fluid that gets wiped over the eyeball each time you blink. The tears get drained into ducts in the eye’s corner nearest to the nose.

Another of the common causes of discharge is “pinkeye.” It is caused by an infection, which causes the eye’s whites to become pink/red. As the name suggests, the whites of the eyes become colored. If your doctor refers to conjunctivitis, this is just the fancy term for pink eye.

Dry eye is another common cause of eye discharge. Tears are made up of stuff, including water, oil, mucus, and something called “antibodies.” If the balance isn’t right or the tear glands don’t produce tears then you’ll experience dry eyes.

What Causes White Eye Discharge?

If you have white eye discharge in one or more eyes, this can be caused by various factors. Some of the most common causes include eye infection/irritation. In other cases, this might be caused by “sleep” that involves oil/mucus buildup while sleeping.

You might be concerned about the discharge. However, in many cases, it’s nothing to worry about and is related to the eye’s normal function. However, sometimes medical care is needed, so it’s better to get it checked out if you have any concerns.

Here are some of the main causes of white eye discharge:


You might experience eye allergies that are causing the white eye discharge. That could be due to allergens like dust or pollen. This irritation might affect one or both eyes. It might also involve eye discharge/congestion. There are other possible symptoms to watch for including, swollen eyelids, itchiness, sneezing, and runny nose.


This condition involves inflammation of the eyelid membrane. When the blood vessels get inflamed, it causes pink/red eyeballs. That is a common infection that’s related to a bacteria/virus. Sometimes pinkeye can be passed to other people.

Various symptoms include:

  • Discharge
  • Tears
  • Irritation
  • Itchiness
  • Pain

Pink eye treatment usually focuses on the symptoms. They include eye drops or cold compress. Your doctor might also prescribe allergy or anti-inflammatory medicines.

Corneal Ulcer 

This condition is a more extreme case of infection or dry eye. The cornea is the clear cover for the iris/pupil. When it gets infected or inflamed, sometimes ulcer forms and can result in eye discharge. There are various possible symptoms including;

  • Pain
  • Tearing
  • Light sensitivity
  • Red eyes
  • Problems opening eyelid

If you experience severe pain from corneal ulcers then it’s important to get medical treatment. Sometimes antibiotics are prescribed to deal with the pain. It’s important to talk to your eye doctor about the best treatment.

Top Tips for Good Eye Health

Wear sunglasses 

If you spend lots of time outdoors, you should wear sunglasses. Make sure to avoid cheap ones since they won’t provide good UV protection. Selecting shades that have UVA and UVB protection. That will help to protect your eyes from harmful ultraviolet rays. Meanwhile, cheap sunglasses will cause the UV rays to bounce around between the shade and your eyes, which can be worse than no sunglasses.

Take breaks from a display 

If you have to look at a smartphone, tablet, or desktop make sure to take breaks. It’s recommended for every 50 minutes you look at the screen, then rest for 10 minutes. It’s also recommended that you stop using devices 1+ hours before bedtime to help you sleep better.

Sleep well 

Make sure to get 7+ hours of sleep nearly every night. Yes, there will sometimes be work/school deadlines or emergencies that require you to burn the midnight oil. However, these situations should be the exception, not the rule.

Make sure to get a good night’s sleep to boost your eye health. Get into a sleep schedule so getting ready to catch Z’s will be like clockwork. Speaking of which, it’s helpful to go to bed around the same time every night so your body clock works better.

Exercise regularly 

That might seem like an odd way to boost eye health. However, the key benefit is it can help to remove toxins and boost the eyes’ oxygen levels. Make sure to do cardio exercise since this is especially helpful for boosting blood circulation.

Eat a healthy diet 

This habit is something you should do that can help improve eye health. Make sure to eat antioxidant-rich foods, including those high in Vitamins A and C. This includes options like fish and green leafy vegetables. You should also eat enough omega-3 fatty acids since this can help to boost eye health and prevent the white eye discharge.

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