Watery or sticky eyes experienced by newborn babies, particularly after sleeping is a quite common issue. Most of the time this issue does not cause any harms to babies, although thorough treatments still need to be performed.
Causes of sticky eyes on babies
In infants, sticky eyes might be triggered by several different risk factors. Some factors lead to harmless watery or sticky eyes, while some others might cause problems which need further treatments. Among the most common causes of sticky eyes in infants are:
Although there are several kinds of conjunctivitis which attack the eyes, bacterial conjunctivitis is the most common cause for baby sticky eyes. This type of conjunctivitis may spread from one eye to another and causes pus-like discharge which makes the eyelids to stick together, especially when a crust is formed from overnight sleeping.
Clogged tear duct
Tear ducts located in upper and lower corners of the eye, and along the nose have a significant role in draining tears. When one of these ducts is clogged, tears cannot drain properly. This leads to tear build up around the tear duct, causing crust formation during the night and leads to sticky eyes. In infants, clogged tear duct is a familiar issue, in which the clogged tear duct is going to resolve within baby’s first 12 month of age.
Is sticky eye in babies harmful?
Sticky eyes itself is not a harmful issue, as long as it does not cause disturbances to the babies, such as fever, flu-like symptoms, red eye, or severe itching. Hence, infant sticky eyes caused by bacterial infection is commonly more dangerous than the one caused by blocked tear duct. Treatments at home can be applied if you do not see some signs of harmful eye infection, such as:
- Sensitivity to light
- Severe itching signed by excessive rubs
- Blurred visions
- Injuries—scratches and scrapes to the eye
- Excessive swelling and redness
Baby sticky eyes treatments
Although sticky eyes is mostly harmful for babies, proper treatments should be performed in order to minimize its effects on the eye. Some easy treatments which can be done for infant sticky eyes include:
This treatment is beneficial for treating sticky eyes happens to babies, which is caused by bacterial or allergic infection. This will moisten the eyelids to enable easier openings after overnight sleep.
Sticky eyelids can also be minimized by wiping it off with a damp cotton cloth soaked in saline solution. Sterilized cotton balls can also be used with saline solution. Gently rub baby’s eyelids from the inner to the outer corner of the eyes. This can be done every time the eyelids get too sticky, particularly in the morning after an overnight sleep. Once every three days you will also need to bathe the eyes by wiping it off with a cotton ball soaked in boiled water which has cooled down. Wipe the outer and inner sides of the eyelids and lashes to makes sure no crusted drainage is left. Keeping the eyelids and lashes clean is essential, especially if the sticky eye problem is caused by bacterial infection.
If the sticky eyes problem gets worse and does not respond well to home remedies, you might want to see a pediatrician for a prescribed antibiotic solution or eye drops. This drops will keep the eye clean from excessive drainage, which leads to sticky eyes. Antibiotic solution might be needed should you spot some of the signs that the sticky eye problem in babies is getting worse, such as:
- Elevating itching and pain, which is signed by excessive rubs and discomfort.
- Swelling eyes and eyelids.
- Eye redness accompanied by pus-like drainage which is accumulated in the corner of the eyes.
- The drainage won’t stop, causing difficulties for the baby in opening the eyes.
Sticky eyes in babies which is caused by clogged tear duct should not be dangerous and should resolve within a year of a baby life. As long as it is not infected, sticky eyes do not need any medications. Keeping the affected eyes clean is much more important and home remedies should be enough to perform the task.