Eye Infection With Pus (Bacterial)


  • Yellow discharge in the eye
  • Eyelids stuck together with pus, especially after naps
  • Dried eye discharge on the upper cheek
  • The sclera mayor may not have some redness or pinkness.
  • Eyelids are usually puffy due to irritation from the infection.
  • Also called “bacterial conjunctivitis,” “runny eyes;’ or “mattery eyes.”
    Note: A small amount of cream-colored mucus in the inner corner of the eyes after sleeping is normal.

Eye Infection With Pus Cause

Eye infections with pus are caused by various bacteria and can be a complication of a cold. Red eyes without a yellow discharge, however, are more common and are due to a virus.

Expected Course

With proper treatment, the yellow discharge should clear up in 3 days. The red eyes (which are due to the cold) may persist for several more days.

Home Treatment for Eye Infection With Pus

Cleaning the Eye. Before putting in any medicines, remove all the pus from the eye with warm water and wet cotton balls. Unless this is done, the medicine will not have a chance to work.

Antibiotic Eye Drops or Ointments. Bacterial conjunctivitis must be treated with an antibiotic eye medicine.

Putting eye drops or ointment in the eyes of younger children can be a real battle. It is most easily done with two people. One person can hold the child still while the other person opens the eyelids with one hand and puts in the medicine with the other. One person can do it alone if he sits on the floor holding the child’s head (face up) between the knees to free both hands to put in the medication.

If we have prescribed antibiotic eye drops, put 2 drops in each eye usually 3 times per day. Do this by gently pulling down on the lower lid and placing the drops there. As soon as the eye drops have been put in the eyes, have your child close them for 2 minutes so the eye drops will stay inside. If it is difficult to separate your child’s eyelids, put the eye drops over the inner corner of the eye while he is lying down. As your child opens the eye and blinks, the eye drops will flow in. Continue the eye drops until your child has awakened two mornings in a row without any pus in the eyes.

If we have prescribed antibiotic eye ointment, the ointment needs to be used just 4 times daily because it can remain in the eyes longer than eye drops. Separate the eyelids and put in a ribbon of ointment from one corner of the lower eyelid to the other. If it is very difficult to separate your child’s eyelids, put the ointment on the lid margins. As it melts from body heat, it will flow onto the eyeball and give equally good results. Continue until two mornings have passed without any pus in the eye.

Contact Lenses. Children with contact lenses need to switch to glasses temporarily. (Reason: this helps prevent damage to the cornea.)

Contagiousness. The pus from the eyes can cause eye infections in other people if they get some of it on their eyes. Therefore, it is very important for the sick child to have his own washcloth and towel. Your child should be encouraged not to touch or rub the eyes because it can make the infection last longer and it puts many germs on his fingers. Your child’s hands should also be washed often to prevent spreading the infection. After using eye drops for 24 hours and if the pus is minimal, children can return to day care or school.


  • The outer eyelids become very red or swollen.
  • The vision becomes blurred.
  • Your child starts acting very sick.

Within 24 hours if:

  • The infection isn’t cleared up after 3 days on treatment.
  • Your child develops an earache.
  • You have other concerns or questions.