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Baby Eye Infection Treatment: What's Most Effective?

Medically reviewed by Danielle Vitan, MD · General Practitioner

Written by Hello Doctor Medical Panel · Updated Oct 17, 2022

    Baby Eye Infection Treatment: What's Most Effective?

    As a child grows, it’s important to keep a keen eye on their health and body development. When it comes to their eyes, you can easily observe abnormal discharges, which help indicate several clinical issues, such as impaired vision development (inability of eyes to properly focus on objects and/or follow movement) and infection. What types of eye infection treatment or babies are available? And are these safe?

    In this article, learn about what to do in case you’re worried that your baby may have developed visual impairment or eye infection, and when to seek professional medical help.

    Preventing baby eye infection

    Newborns are all given antibiotic eye drops or ointment in the delivery room as serious eye infections can develop from exposure to microorganisms while passing through the mother’s birth canal. Such infections must be treated promptly to avoid serious injury to the baby’s eyes.

    Infants have limited vision. But as the days go by, their vision develops and they begin to perceive the world more clearly. Any eye damage at this point can impede vision development and lead to a variety of eye problems. Parents should therefore keep their newborns and young children from being exposed to excessive dust, polluted air, chemical vapors, smoke, and irritants that may affect vision.

    How to clean your baby’s eyes 

    During the first few months, you may notice a mild yellowish discharge coming from the corner of your newborn’s eyes. This is usually attributed to blocked tear ducts and are considered harmless.

    You may clean your baby’s eyes twice a day

    • Upon after waking up, when there is a bigger buildup of secretions
    • After bathing, when the secretions have softened and will be easier to clean

    After soaking one cotton ball in warm sterile water and squeezing off the excess, gently wipe the region around each eye to clean off any mucus. Clean cotton swabs dipped in water are recommended for cleaning your baby’s eye corners. Avoid repeatedly touching your baby’s eyes with tissues, napkins, or a damp cloth.

    Contact your doctor if you observe this

    If you see any of the following symptoms or signs, contact your child’s doctor right away:

  • Eyes that are misaligned (look crossed, turn out, or are not focused together)
  • Have a white or grayish white color in the pupil
  • Flicker quickly from side to side or up and down
  • Somewhat misaligned eyes
  • Squinting in the first few months of life.
  • Check for eye development

    Delay in brain development may be a sign of an underlying eye condition. Some eye-related problems can lead to developmental delays, learning challenges, and eventual visual loss if left untreated.

    Use bright toys to keep your baby engaged when they start to crawl. This helps with visual stimulation and fosters hand-eye coordination, which is crucial for a child’s brain and eyes to develop properly.

    Signs of baby eye infection

    When your child develops an eye infection – one of the most common of which is called conjunctivitis – the eye may develop redness and swelling, with a yellow or greenish discharge that can cause their eyelids to stick together. With eye infection, especially with babies, it is a general rule to always consult your doctor once you notice the characteristic symptoms. Your physician may prescribe eye infection treatment like antibiotic eye drops or ointment if they determine that your conjunctivitis is of bacterial cause.

    Key Takeaway

    For your baby’s health and safety, and for their continued vision development, clean their eyes twice a day with a soft, wet, and clean cotton ball, along with a cotton swab for the eye corners. Consult your doctor immediately if there are signs of baby eye infection, which include redness, swelling, and/or a sticky yellowish or green discharge on their eyelids. They are best to prescribe eye infection treatment for your baby.

    Learn more about Child Skincare here


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Danielle Vitan, MD

    General Practitioner

    Written by Hello Doctor Medical Panel · Updated Oct 17, 2022

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