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Eye Care

There are no tears when a newborn cries. This is because the baby's tear ducts have yet to mature (tear ducts tend to mature at about 6 weeks). And because of this, irritants cannot be washed away causing baby's eyes to become more prone to infection.

Eye Cleaning

Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water and wipe them dry before handling your baby (make that a routine). Pour some cooled boiled water into a clean container. Using clean cotton balls or washcloth, dip them into the water and squeeze out the excess. Gently clean baby's eyes from the inner corners toward the outer corners in ONE stroke. Rep eat the same with the other eye using a fresh clean piece.

Eye Ailments

Blocked Tear duct

• A blocked tear duct is very common during the newborn phase and most of the time it resolves as baby grows. The tear ducts are tiny tubes that run from the corner of the eyes, collecting the tears which are constantly being produced to keep the eye moist; the fluid then passes down into the nose cavity.

• In small babies there can be a blockage at the bottom end of the tear duct which causes germs to grow in the moist site. This then oozes out as discharge.

• A blocked duct seldom requires treatment but if the problem persists at six months and up, treatment becomes necessary.

• In such a situation, white gooey stuff collects in the corner and edges of the eyelids. The eye may also seem 'weepy'.

• Wipe your baby's eyes with cooled boiled water (use a different cotton ball for each eye) from the inner corner then outwards every few hours. Massage gently by rubbing at the side of the nose beneath the corner of the eye.

• If regular cleaning and massaging (for a day or so) doesn't seem to improve the situation, you will need to call the GP. The infection needs to be treated with antibiotic eye drops.

"Sticky Eyes"

As with blocked tear duct this too is quite common. One or both eyelids end up sticking together while baby is asleep due to discharge from the eyes. This is usually an irritation that results from the fluids your baby has encountered at birth. Wipe your baby's eyes with cooled boiled water using a different cotton wool for each eye every few hours. It is rarely conjunctivitis and more likely a blocked tear duct. However if there is no improvement consult your GP.

Crossed or Squinty eyes

This situation is especially common in the first 3 months because baby's eyes are not working together yet. This is due to a lack of muscle power in controlling the eyes. It becomes more obvious when baby is relaxed and feeding. She will be able to focus both eyes when her eye muscle develops. It becomes a concern if there is no change after this time frame.

Eye care Don'ts

• Do not constantly wipe baby's eyes with tissues or face cloths.

• Do not change formula because of sticky eyes.

• Do not clean baby's eyes with any kind of tea.

• Do not discontinue breastfeeding in case of sticky eyes.

• Do not use the same cotton ball or same side of the washcloth to clean both eyes.

Medical assistance becomes necessary if:

• Discharge becomes darker yellow and more sticky.

• Discharge gets worse by the day.

• The whites of the eyes start to redden and you detect some swelling.

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Disclaimer: Information contained on this Web site is intended solely to make available general summarized information to the public. It should not be substituted for medical advice. It is your responsibility to consult with your pediatrician and/or health care provider before acting on any advice on this web site. While OEM endeavors to provide up-to-date and accurate information, it is not liable for any advice whatsoever rendered nor is it liable for the completeness or timeliness of any information on this site.
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