Eye Discharge in Toddlers – Green, Yellow, Sticky, Remedies

What causes toddler eye discharge? Eye discharge in children is mostly caused by cold, infection, and Conjunctivitis. The discharge usually appear as Sticky mucus which is normally green or yellow in color. Eye discharge associated with viral pink eye typically is clear and watery, but may include a white or light yellow mucus component.

How does a toddler eye discharge look like?

Toddler eye discharge is normally appear as a yellowish, sticky, crusty, substance that can sometimes make your eyes feel like they have been glued shut. It can be temporary—such as when you wake up in the morning—or persistent, in which case medical attention should be considered.

Pink eye may cause toddler eye discharge
Pink eye may cause discharge.

Usually eye discharge is a harmless part of your body’s natural defense system, but some cases are serious. Eye discharge can be present in both children and adults, and it affects males and females equally.

Causes of eye discharge

Toddler eye discharge may be associated with many different health causes. Whether it is a common cold, sinus infection, allergies, direct trauma to the eye, Conjunctivitis (pink eye), and other causes- you should understand the different symptoms and causes that may be occurring with your toddler.

Understanding eye discharge in your baby may help you better to know how you can treat the issue, and also alarm you in more serious cases that you need to have your toddler seen by a medical professional.

See also:

Eye discharge in babies is caused by infection, cold, conjunctivitis, and fever

  • Infection
  • Cold
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Seasonal allergies

1. Eye infections

Eye discharge is caused by various infections of the eye. Infections are also the major cause of toddler eye discharge. This infections normally cause abnormal eye discharge. These infections include:

Eye herpes

Eye herpes can also lead to discharge
Eye herpes can also lead to discharge.

Eye herpes is a recurrent viral eye infection, fungal keratitis (a rare but serious inflammation of the cornea) and Acanthamoeba keratitis which is potentially blinding parasitic infection caused by poor contact lens hygiene or swimming while wearing contacts.

Discharge from an eye infection varies considerably — it could be clear and watery or thick, green and sticky — so make sure you see your eye doctor promptly for an accurate diagnosis and treatment

Blepharitis

A chronic disorder of the eyelids, blepharitis describes either inflammation of the eyelash hair follicles or abnormal oil production from the Meibomian glands at the inner edge of the eyelids.

Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) can cause foamy eye discharge, eyelid crusting, as well as yellow or green eye pus, among other irritating and often painful symptoms.

Stye

A stye is a clogged Meibomian gland at the base of the eyelid, typically caused by an infected eyelash follicle. Also called a hordeolum, it resembles a pimple on the eyelid margin and is commonly accompanied by redness, swollen eyelids and tenderness in the affected area. Yellow pus, eyelid crusting and discomfort while blinking also can occur.

An eye stye usually resolves on its own, but it’s important to refrain from squeezing the pus from a stye to reduce the risk of the infection spreading to other areas of the eye.

Dry eyes

Dry yes is an infection that often leads to toddler eye discharge. Insufficient tear production or dysfunction of the Meibomian glands can lead to dry eye syndrome — an often chronic condition in which the surface of the eyes is not properly lubricated and becomes irritated and inflamed.

Symptoms of dry eyes include red, bloodshot eyes, a burning sensation, blurry vision and a feeling something is “in” your eye (foreign body sensation). Sometimes, dry eyes also can cause a very watery eye discharge to occur.

Eye injury

Eye injury may be caused by sharp objects, a foreign body in the eye (such as dirt, debris or a chemical substance) or dust can cause your eyes to secrete a watery discharge as a natural protective response.

If eye pus or blood in the eye (subconjunctival hemorrhage) occurs after an eye injury, see your eye doctor immediately for treatment. All eye injuries should be treated as a medical emergency.

Contact lenses

By wearing contact lenses may lead to an eye infection that causes toddler eye infection, the fact is that, you may find more sleep in your eyes than normal. This can be due to a number of reasons, including a contact lens-related eye infection, contact lens discomfort resulting in dry and irritated eyes, as well as rubbing your eyes more while wearing contacts.

If you experience an increase in eye discharge when wearing contacts, remove your lenses and see your eye doctor to rule out a potentially serious eye condition.

Dacryocystitis

Dacryocystitis is an infection where by the tear duct is blocked. When a tear duct is blocked, the lacrimal sac in the tear drainage system leading to the nose can become inflamed and infected, causing a tender and swollen bump to appear under the inner eyelid. In addition to pain and redness, common symptoms of dacryocystitis include watery eyes, a sticky eye discharge and blurred vision.

Corneal ulcer

Corneal ulcer is an infection that usually leads to toddler eye discharge. A corneal ulcer is a sight-threatening, abscess-like infection of the cornea, usually caused by trauma to the eye or an untreated eye infection. If not treated promptly, corneal ulcers can lead to complete vision loss.

Eye pain, redness, swollen eyelids and thick eye discharge are characteristic of a corneal ulcer. Eye pus can be so severe that it clouds the cornea and impairs vision.

2. Common Cold

Toddler eye discharge can occur with a common cold. Those people who are sick with cold or flu tend to have more eye discharge. It is important to always be aware of all the signs and symptoms your child at the earlier stage. This will help in treatment of the condition before it gets late.

The pus or discharge that can be present in your child’s eyes can be due to a viral infection, which is normally present with a child’s cold, bacterial infection, which is a more serious situation, seasonal allergies or other irritants. Knowing the causative factors as well as how to deal with them can help prevent future abnormal eye discharge in your baby.

3. Conjunctivitis

Eye drainage and discharge in babies can be a sign of conjunctivitis, an inflammation of the lining of your dog’s eye. There’s a wide range of causes for conjunctivitis, from allergies, injury, birth defects, and tear duct problems, to foreign matter, dry eye, distemper, or even tumors.

Conjunctivitis is a common condition that causes redness and inflammation of the thin layer of the tissue that covers the front of the eye (the conjunctiva). People often refer to conjunctivitis as red eye.

Other symptoms of conjunctivitis include itchiness and watering of the eyes, and sometimes a sticky coating on the eyelashes (if it’s caused by an allergy). Conjunctivitis can affect one eye at first, but usually affects both eyes after a few hours.

Conjunctivitis can be a frustrating condition – particularly allergic conjunctivitis – but in most cases it doesn’t pose a serious threat to health. Complications of conjunctivitis are rare, but when they do occur they can be serious and include:

  • A severe case of allergic conjunctivitis can lead to scarring in the eye
  • In cases of infective conjunctivitis, the infection can spread to other areas of the body, triggering more serious secondary infections, such as meningitis.

What causes conjunctivitis?

What causes Conjunctivitis? There’s a wide range of causes for conjunctivitis, from allergies, injury, birth defects, and tear duct problems, to foreign matter, dry eye, distemper, or even tumors. The conjunctiva can become inflamed as a result of:

  • a bacterial or viral infection – this is known as infective conjunctivitis
  • an allergic reaction to a substance such as pollen or dust mites –this is known as allergic conjunctivitis
  • the eye coming into contact with things that can irritate the conjunctiva, such as shampoo or chlorinated water, or a loose eyelash rubbing against the eye – this is known as irritant conjunctivitis
Types of conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis that causes eye discharge in toddlers normally occur in two major forms namely: neonatal conjunctivitis and viral conjunctivitis.

Neonatal conjunctivitis

Neonatal conjunctivitis is a type of conjunctivitis disease that affects newborn babies less than 28 days old. In most cases of neonatal conjunctivitis aren’t particularly serious. A small number of cases occur if a baby is born to a mother who has a sexually transmitted infection, such as chlamydia or gonorrhea.

These infections don’t necessarily cause symptoms in the mother, so many of them are unaware they’re infected. With STIs, there’s a possibility of serious complications if the infection is left untreated. Contact your GP if you notice any redness in your baby’s eyes.

Viral conjunctivitis

If you child has a clear or white discharge in one eye, which can spread to the other eye, with upper respiratory problems they may have the viral type of conjunctivitis. You should clean their eyes with sterile gauze, one for each eye.

Call the pediatrician, as they can examine your child and make a definitive diagnosis of them. Viral conjunctivitis is not treated with antibiotics, so seeing the doctor is pertinent.

4. Seasonal Allergies

Greenish eye discharge in toddlers
Greenish eye discharge in babies due to eye infection.

Your toddler can be experiencing eye discharge due to seasonal allergies, hay fever, pollen, and other air pollutants that irritate the eyes with exposure. This not only produces symptoms of clear eye drainage, watery or itchy eyes- but it can also be accompanied by sneezing, runny drainage from the nostrils, and more. If it is allergy related eye drainage there will be no fever present.

Other causes of toddler eye discharge

Toddler eye discharge has a wide range of causes. Additional causes of eye discharge may include: Sinus infection, Exposure to chemicals, Allergic reaction, Hay fever, Orbital cellulitis. Occasionally, symptoms such as fever, cough, body aches, nasal congestion, and sneezing may accompany the eye discharge. This is typically seen in persons with bacterial or viral infections.

Yellow eye discharge in toddlers

Yellow eye discharge is typically caused by dry eye syndrome and it occurs when your hormones decrease your tear production. Common causes include sun exposure, allergic reactions to medicines, dry windy environments, smoking, or exposure cigarette smoke or colds. A previous injury to eye also may cause this infection as well as chemical burns and Sjogren syndrome.

This condition is also caused by blepharitis which may be caused by various factors. These include bacterial infection, seborrheic dermatitis, malfunctioned oil glands, lice or eyelash mites, rosacea, allergies and certain medicines.

Green discharge from eye

Thick gray or green eye discharge is an indication of an eye infection possibly caused by bacteria. Bacterial conjunctivitis is an eye infection that makes it difficult to open the eyes in the morning and this is mainly brought about by a pyogenic (puss producing) bacteria.

Green discharge from the eye is also accompanied by irritation and redness. Other possible symptoms include eyelid edema which is an indication of N gonorrhea infection and preauricular nymph node which is also caused by gonorrhea and found in severe Conjunctivitis. More discharge may be produced in the eye and the patient may feel an inflammation or itchiness in the follicles.

After seeing the doctor and you notice the above symptoms, it is advisable to go for diagnosis since early diagnosis can prevent spreading of the infection to other people.

Sticky toddler eye mucus discharge

This may be cause by allergic Conjunctivitis which affects the eye lid lining and the white part of the eye also known as conjunctiva. This is often caused by mold, dander, pollen and other substances that cause allergies. Allergies often run in the family and it’s difficult to know the type of allergy a person has. When exposed substances you are allergic to, histamine is discharged to the conjunctiva leading to a swelling and consequent itching.

Sticky toddler eye mucus discharge may also be accompanied by red eyes, tearing, dilated eye vessels visible in the white area, puffy eyelids and this occurs mostly in the morning as well as intense burning and itching.

Remedies and treatment for eye discharge in babies

A small amount of toddler eye discharge is harmless, but if you notice changes in the color, frequency, consistency and amount, consult your eye doctor. This will help deal with the infection at the early stages before it becomes severe.

Treating conjunctivitis

Treatment isn’t usually needed for conjunctivitis, because the symptoms often clear up within a couple of weeks. If treatment is needed, the type of treatment will depend on the cause. In severe cases, antibiotic eye drops can be used to clear the infection. Irritant conjunctivitis will clear up as soon as whatever is causing it is removed.

Allergic conjunctivitis can usually be treated with anti-allergy medications such as antihistamines. If possible, you should avoid the substance that triggered the allergy. It’s best not to wear contact lenses until the symptoms have cleared up. Any sticky or crusty coating on the eyelids or lashes can be cleansed with cotton wool and water.

Washing your hands regularly and not sharing pillows or towels will help prevent it spreading. Moreover, it is advisable to see the doctor in case of the following symptoms:

  • eye pain
  • sensitivity to light (photophobia)
  • disturbed vision
  • intense redness in one eye or both eyes
  • a newborn baby with conjunctivitis

Other methods of getting rid of toddler eye discharge

Depending on the cause of eye discharge, there are different types of treatments available. Some of which can be performed at home, and others may require the patient to visit a doctor. If the condition is severe, ask the doctor about the antibiotics or antibiotic eye drops to reduce the symptoms.

There are various home remedies for toddler eye discharge. These remedies include:

  • Avoid touching the eyes. Touching your eyes worsens the infection and spreads it too.
  • Clean your hands regularly. Keep your hands clean and wash them frequently especially if you have pink eye as it is contagious.
  • Take off your contacts. Remove your contact lenses when you notice an eye discharge and switch to disposable contacts which are safer.
  • Discard eye makeup. Mascara and eyeliner should be avoided when you have an eye infection.
  • Remove irritants. Reduce your exposure to allergens.
  • Apply warm compresses. Warm compresses help relieve the symptoms accompanied by eye infections such as itching. You can unglue your eyelids by placing a wet, warm washcloth over the eye for a few minutes and wipe the gunk as well.

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