Babies develop the eye sight right from their birth and they could be able to see the things in black and white within the range of 8-12 inches. It is more important to know any kind of infections that occur with the babies and to prevent them from becoming up set and fussy.
Sticky eye is one of the common eye infections in babies that occur due to the blocked tear duct. About 1 in 20 babies is born with the blocked or narrow tear duct. Scroll down to know more about the eye discharge that leads to sticky eye in babies.
What Are Sticky Eyes In Babies?
Sticky eye is a condition where the eye lids of the babies stick together due to continuous watery discharge from the eyes. Sticky eyes in the babies is marked by the presence of yellow or the white crust stuck in the corners or flowing out from the corners of the eyelid.
The baby’s eye lids might seem shut when they are glued by the watery discharge which makes the babies find the difficulty in opening their eyes.
Is it normal for the babies to have the sticky eyes?
It is most common condition to occur in the babies due to excess water discharge from the eye. One of the primary reasons for the excess water from the eyes or sticky eyes is blocked tear duct. It is estimated that almost 20% of the babies encounter this worldwide. Most common causes of the sticky eyes in babies can be resolved during the infancy. Don’t get panic if your baby’s eyes suddenly turn sticky.
Sticky eye is not a serious condition and can be easily treated at home. This condition is not similar to that of conjunctivitis. Babies can pick up sticky eyes when they are affected by bacteria during the birth.
Sticky eye results from the yellow discharge that occurs in the newborn babies with blocked tear duct. The tear ducts usually open up in the few months of the life and begin to function normally by draining out the water slowly. For some babies, the tear duct may not open up on its own and it needs to be opened with a probe under the anesthesia at the age of 12 months.
Signs Of Sticky Eyes In Babies:
Here are a few signs of sticky eyes in babies:
• You may notice the yellow or white discharge at the corner of your baby eye.
• The discharge may have the flaky or crusty texture which may turn worse after the sleep.
• You may notice the mild inflammation or redness around or below the eyes. In some cases, the sticky eyes may not be accompanied by redness or itching, then mostly it is not an infection.
• Heavy water discharge from the eye which could be a result of the heavy tearing in the duct.
• The color of the discharge may look green in color and may get more severe and more frequent.
• Excess discomfort and frequent rubbing of the eyes.
Causes Of Sticky Eyes In Babies:
Here are a few conditions that cause sticky eyes in babies:
1. Congenital nasolacrimal duct obstruction (CNLDO):
It is the medical terminology used for the blocked tear duct. This conditions drains excess tears of the eyes into the nose. A blocked or a malfunctioned tear duct may make the tears to remain in the eye for longer period and eventually leads to the sickness. This condition is innate and 95% of these cases can cure on their own within the first year of the baby’s life.
A style is a bump like structure that results from the infection of the oil glands or sweat glands that are present at the rim of the eye yield. This is one of the common reasons for sticky eyes in babies. The stye sometimes may produce the yellow discharge resulting in the stickiness of the eye.
Bacterial, viral or allergic eye reactions may cause this contagious eye infection. This condition makes the eyes to discharge excess tears eventually leading to the sticky eyes.
The common cause for this condition during the neonatal period are the irritants, bacteria, chlamydia, and herpes simplex virus. Neonatal conjunctivitis require the immediate medical attention.
It is a condition that makes the tear sac to be inflamed. This condition is rare and occurs in the severe cases of the blocked tear duct.
5. Nasal anomalies:
Congenital problems of the nasal passages like nasal polyps, nasal deformity, make the eyes to release the excess tears leading to the sticky eyes. Any foreign object present in the nasal passages may result in the sticky eyes.
6. Upper respiratory tract infections:
Common cold and cough are the signs of the upper respiratory tract infection resulting the eyes to pass more tears leading to the sticky eyes.
Allergies make the eyes become watery and have the itchy sensation. Allergies are one of the potential causes for the sticky eyes in babies.
8. Other issues:
Pink or red eyes is a condition to represent that the babies have the conjunctivitis. It results this condition results when the thin skin that is in the front of eye to get the infection.
Home Remedies For Sticky Eyes In Babies:
Eyes are the vital organs of the human body and is more important to diagnose it at the earlier stages and proper care can be given at home. The home remedies work well with the mild and moderate cases of the infection.
1. Dab with the sterile cotton ball:
Take a sterile cotton ball and dip it in the saline and dab over the crest or the extra tears running from the corners of the eye. Do not reuse the cotton ball and use the fresh cotton ball for every use.
if the crust is making the eye lids glued and shut closer to each other. Use a warm wash cloth to dab over the affected area tear duct. Repeat this process until the eyes are cleaned.
2. Saline water:
Cleaning up of the affected area with the saline water reduces the risk of bacterial infections.
3. Cold compress:
Cold compress is the best remedy to get rid of sticky eyes in babies. It offers the moisture to the eyes and helps to clear up the flakiness created by the excessive discharge. This sooth the baby and helps them to open up the eyes without any discomfort. Studies show that cold compress is the effective treatment for alleviating the swelling of the eye.
Gently massaging the area around the eye and near the nose will help to open the blocked ducts. This minimizes the build up of the fluid at the corners of the eye. You can consult the ophthalmologist to get the better understanding of the massaging techniques.
5. Antibiotic solution:
Drops or antibiotics are recommended by the doctor to clean the discharge and ask the doctor for the careful instructions to follow while cleaning the eye. This is one of the best treatments for the sticky eyes in newborn baby.
Express few drops of the breastmilk and take a cotton ball. Dip the cotton ball in the breastmilk and apply it around the eye that helps to alleviate the symptoms of the infection.
Breastmilk is the effective remedy to fight off the infections. You can drop few drops of the milk into your baby’s eye. Breastmilk is well known to combat the conjunctivitis.
7. Tea bag:
Tea is loaded with the anti microbial and the antiocidant properties that offer many benefits when consumed. Tea bags are effective in treating the eye infection.
Dip the tea bad in hot water and allow it slightly cool. This process activates the constituents of the tea. Place this bag for some time over each eye that helps to soothe the discomfort and allows the discharge blocked in the corners of the eye lids to meltdown and go away.
8. Chamomile oil:
It has anti inflammatory properties and a great option to treat wide range of eye infections.
Add few drops of chamomile oil to the water. Take the cotton balls and dip it in the mixture that helps to alleviate the symptoms of the eye infection.
9. Salt water:
Sea its self is a great cleansing agent and the various constituents in it make it a great antibiotic. Add a spoonful of water to two cups of water and allow it to boil. Now this solution is ready to treat baby’s eye.
Allow this solution to cool to the room temperature and wash your baby’s eyes with this solution. It will help to clean the eye by eliminating the solid crests in the eye. You can also place the cotton balls on your baby’s eye that are dipped in this solution.
10. Adopt healthy Diet (for the babies over 1 year):
The diet that is rich in vitamin A including the carrots and potato will protect the body and stimulates the growth of the healthy cells. Vitamin A rich diet will help the body to fight against the infections.
Vegetables, citrus fruits, fish, and egg that are rich in the zinc and vitamin C will help to build the stronger immunity in the children against any kind of eye infections.
When to call the doctor for sticky eyes in babies?
The fact behind the newborn sticky eyes is the blocked tear duct. In most of the cases this is not severe and can be treated at home. If your baby is likely to have the sticky eyes for the longer period. always keep track on the symptoms to prevent the eye infection and seek the medical attention under the following conditions:
• Your baby seems sensitive to the light.
• If the babies are constantly squeeze constantly to shut their eyes
• If you notice the swelling at the sides of the nose.
• If the eyes become red or angry.
• If your notice abnormal structure of the eyelid.
• There is a continuous flow of the green, yellow, or white discharge.
• The tear ducts seem to be still blocked when they reach the age of 1 year.
Tips parents should follow while cleaning baby’s sticky eyes:
sticky eyes usually get clear on their own without any medication. But here are a few things that parents should follow meanwhile:
• wash your hands frequently especially before and after cleaning your baby’s eye.
• Use the cooled boiled water every time you wash your baby’s eyes.
• Change the cotton ball or the cloth for every time you clean your baby’s eye.
• Ensure that baby’s hands are always clean as they tend to rub their eyes frequently with their hands that leads to the eye infection in babies.
• Use the eye drops that are recommended by the pediatrician only.
• Don not touch the baby’s eye or try to clean inside of the eyelid as you may damage them accidently.
• Avoid using powder for the babies till they get relief from this condition.
• Ensure to keep the baby’s surroundings clean and wash their bedding, clothes and other toys with the warm water regularly.
In conclusion, water discharge is more common in the babies and is a result of blocked tear duct. The blockage can clear up on its own when the babies reach the age of 6 months. newborns with the excessive eye discharge and redness are recommended to visit the doctor at the earlier conditions.