On occasion your eyes can get a little sticky and this can happen with or without contact lenses. You may notice a small amount of stickiness or discharge in a morning when you wake up. This can be caused by accumulation of mucous, lipids, skin cells and other debris during sleep as your eyes are closed and not blinking. This can be sticky or dry and tends to have a yellowish colour.
Excessive and/or persistent discharge can however be a sign of infection, particularly if your eyes are stuck together in the morning. In this case, you should avoid wearing your contact lenses and consult your eyecare professional as soon as possible to help determine the cause and receive suitable treatment if needed. You should do this even if you don’t wear contact lenses.
A common eye condition associated with eye discharge is conjunctivitis which may cause temporary discomfort to the eyes. Conjunctivitis is typically the infection or inflammation of a thin, transparent lining over the surface of your eye. It can be infectious (for example caused by bacteria or viruses) or an allergic reaction to substances such as dust mites or pollen.
You might notice the white of your eye becoming inflamed or pink, some eye discomfort (often burning sensation or grittiness) along with excessive watery or sticky discharge from your eyes.
Infective conjunctivitis typically resolves on its own within a couple of weeks, but in some cases, antibiotic eye drops could be prescribed by your doctor to help treat some infections. Also, a doctor can prescribe oral and/or eye drop antihistamine medication for allergic conjunctivitis treatment. Rewetting eye drops could be used to help ease the discomfort.
If you notice any pain, sensitivity to light or reduced vision, remove contact lenses (if worn) and seek advice from your doctor or eyecare professional as soon as possible.
In the case of infection avoid sharing pillows and towels with anyone else as eye infections may be contagious.