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Infant Eye Issues

April 12, 2016

As new parents you have a constant cycle going: cry, feed, change, burp, comfort, and the cycle goes on for what may seem like a sleep-deprived level of infinity. There are so many things to do and worry about. Worrying about your child’s eyesight should be on your radar but not cause you more sleepless nights.  Here are a few things to be aware of when it comes to your infant and his/her vision.

There are a number of common childhood diseases and disorders to be on the look out for in the early months that you should bring to the attention of your pediatrician.

  • Conjunctivitis (pink eye)- This very contagious eye disease is notorious for causing red, itchy, crusty eyes in infants and young children. Usually the pediatrician can prescribe ointment or drops to clear up a bacterial infection. If it is viral in nature, waiting it out is usually the best course of action. Warm compresses can also alleviate the pain.
  • Clogged tear ducts – It’s common for newborn tear ducts to clog and for tears to overflow onto a baby’s cheeks, or crusty build up to occur in the corners of the eyes.  Again, a warm cloth compress can help but if the pus drainage and crusting last throughout the day, call your doctor.
  • Crossed eyes – Many babies cross their eyes because the muscles that control them are still weak. However, if your child is 4 months old or older and frequently cross-eyed, or if it occurs at the same time each day or during the same activity, an eye exam is warranted.
  • Sty A sty looks like a red, sore lump near the edge of the eyelid; it is caused by an infected eyelash follicle. Talk to your doctor about treatment methods and relief of pain for your infant.
  • Amblyopia (Lazy Eye) – Amblyopia is a term used to mean poor vision in an eye that has not developed normal sight (usually during early childhood). It occurs when visual acuity is much better in one eye than the other. Amblyopia is common and affects two or three of every 100 people in the U.S. Amblyopia can be a result of strabismus (misaligned eyes). Again, discuss your observations with your doctor. They may recommend an eye appointment for further evaluation.