Sticky eye & conjunctivitis
Do not be alarmed by sticky eye, it is very common in the new born whilst their tear ducts are forming. ‘Sticky eye’ may form in the corner of your babies eye and/or their eye lashes may be stuck together.
How can I help my baby with sticky eye:
- Your baby should not be in pain or discomfort with ‘sticky eye’.
- Wash your hands before treatment and dry with a clean towel
- Boil water and allow to cool
- Use one piece of clean cotton wool for each eye, wipe from the corner of the eye by the nose outwards once, if this needs repeating use a clean piece of cotton wool
- Clean your hands after treating, using a clean towel to dry your hands
- Repeat regularly throughout the day
Conjunctivitis is an eye infection covering the eyeball and inside of the eyelid. The infection is usually caused by one of three reasons: virus or bacterial, allergic reaction or an irritant (First Steps New Parents Group For new parents and their babies, Institute of Health Visiting Jayne Hollinshead & Keri Christie, 2017)
What does conjunctivitis look like?
- The sticky discharge on your baby or toddlers eye will be yellow / green in colour and will come back regularly.
- Eyelids may be swollen
- Maybe sensitive to light
If you think your baby has conjunctivitis please speak to your GP as they may need eye drops prescribed.
Clean your baby or toddlers eye as described above.
Conjunctivitis is contagious so make sure you are applying effective hand washing and your baby or toddler has their own clean towel.
Blocked tear ducts in babies
Babies are sometimes born with under-developed tear ducts. The tear ducts can be completely or partially closed (congenital nasolacrimal duct obstruction) and can cause the baby’s eyes to water. Most blocked tear ducts in babies get better on their own before the baby is one year old.
In some cases, babies with a blocked tear duct can develop eye infections (conjunctivitis). Their eye may be red and have a sticky discharge coming from it. Take your baby to see your GP if you think that they might have an eye infection.
If your baby’s eyes are still watering after the age of one, they may need to have a small procedure done called “probing” to unblock the tear duct. Only a very small number of babies with watering eyes require this type of treatment. See treating watering eyes for more information https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/watering-eyes/