Eye Discharge in a 1-Year-Old

Updated July 19, 2017

A 1-year-old child can exhibit eye discharge for many reasons. The colour of the discharge can give a parent some indication of how serious the problem might be. The discharge could be clear, white and stringy, green, or yellow-green with the appearance of pus. Any of these can indicate a serious condition. If a child exhibits eye discharge for longer than 24 hours, he needs to be evaluated by a paediatrician, an ophthalmologist or an optometrist.

Clear Discharge

A 1-year-old child's eyes can seem to water, or tear excessively for several reasons. If something such as an eyelash or dust is in the child's eye, the eye will water excessively. This is part of the eye's natural defence. The eye will continue to water until the foreign body is removed. Another reason for a clear discharge from a 1-year-old child's eyes is from a blocked tear duct, or naso-lacrimal duct obstruction. This condition can result in recurrent eye infections. It may resolve on its own, or it may need treatment from an eye-care professional.

White And Stringy Discharge

Discharge that is white and stringy in nature is generally due to allergies. WebMD reports that allergy eyes can cause itching, watering and blurred vision. The excess tearing from the allergic response leads to excessive mucus production. This excess mucus is white in colour, and it tends to accumulate in the inside corner of the eye.

Green Discharge

A green discharge from the eyes of a 1-year-old is generally from a viral infection. One very common form of a viral eye infection is known as epidemic keratoconjunctivitis sicca. This is the true form of pink eye that childcare providers and school nurses are the most concerned with as it is extremely contagious. If a child wakes up with a green discharge that holds the eyelids shut, the parents should be extremely cautious of this condition. Waking up with only a mild amount of dried green discharge in the corner of a child's eyes may be normal.

Yellow-Green Discharge With The Appearance Of Pus

If a 1-year-old child exhibits yellow-green discharge in his eyes, it is most likely a type of bacterial conjunctivitis. This condition can be dangerous to the eyes, and it does not resolve on its own. It is also a contagious condition.

Treatment Options

Many 1-year-old children will exhibit eye discharge from time to time. If the discharge is not excessive, and the child does not appear to be in any discomfort, it may be acceptable to wait 24 hours and see if the discharge resolves. If the child is uncomfortable or the discharge does not resolve in 24 hours, the parents need take the child to see their paediatrician, ophthalmologist or optometrist. Any of these health-care professionals can properly diagnose and treat the cause of the eye discharge.

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About the Author

Travis Sharpe began writing in 2009. His articles appear on eHow and Answerbag, where he specializes in eye health, general health and prescription medications. Sharpe is a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry (AAO) and graduated summa cum laude from his alma mater. He has a Doctor of Optometry from the Southern College of Optometry.