Q:

What does it mean when you have white matter in the corners of your eyes?

A:

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According to Troy Bedinghaus of About.com, white eye discharge can be a sign of dacryocystitis, which is an infection of the nasolacrimal sac or tear drainage system. Additional symptoms can manifest as facial pain, redness and swelling around the nasal part of the eyelid. If the white eye mucus is stringy in texture, it may signal the presence of allergic conjunctivitis. Symptoms include redness, swelling, itching and increased tear secretion.

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There is a small drainage hole in the eyelid, called the puncta, that can also produce a discharge related to dacryocystitis. Additional common symptoms of dacryocystitis include watery eyes and blurred vision, as noted by Aimee Surtenich of All About Vision. Bedinghaus stresses that antibiotic treatment must be sought promptly to avoid serious complications.

Allergic conjunctivitis is different from pink eye, which is a highly contagious viral or bacterial infection. Symptoms may be similar. According to Gary Heiting for All About Vision, allergic conjunctivitis can occur seasonally or flare up year-round and is caused by eye irritants such as pollen, dust and animal dander. It affects both eyes and is not contagious.

Allergy medications used to treat allergic conjuctivitis are most effective when taken before flare-ups begin, says Heiting. Patients are advised to visit an optometrist to assess the causes and accompanying symptoms of eye discharge.

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