Small amounts of white or yellow drainage from the eye are common.
Some drainage or crusting of the lids, especially in the morning, may be
Clear or watery drainage from the eye is often due to allergies or a
virus. The eyes may also be itchy and red and feel scratchy. Colds, flu, and
pinkeye (conjunctivitis) also can cause watery eyes
and a runny nose.
It is very common for pinkeye drainage to cause the eyelids to stick
together during sleep. When the eyelids are stuck together, they may swell
during the night. This matting of the eyelids occurs with almost every type of
pinkeye. Once this matted drainage is cleaned away, the eyelid swelling usually
goes away. The next night the matting and swelling may occur again. Sometimes
you can't evaluate your symptoms until 1 to 2 hours after cleaning your
Creamy white or thick yellow drainage that causes the eyelids to be
red, puffy, or stick together in the morning may mean a bacterial
infection. If swelling and redness improve within 1 or 2 hours of opening your
eyes and the drainage is clearing up gradually over a couple of days, the
problem may be less serious. If there are no other symptoms, 3 or 4 days of
home treatment may be all that is needed to clear up the symptoms.
Primary Medical Reviewer
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.