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How to Take Care of Eye of New Born?

DR. APEKSHA AGRAWAL In pediatric ophthalmology

Aug 31, 2023 | 5 min read


Welcoming a newborn into the world is a joyful experience, but it also comes with a lot of responsibilities, including ensuring proper baby eye care. Newborns have sensitive and developing eyes that require special attention. In this guide, we will provide you with essential tips and information on how to take care of your newborn baby’s eyes, from cleaning to recognizing potential issues. By following these guidelines, you can help ensure the long-term health and comfort of your precious little one.

Understanding Newborn Eye Development

A newborn baby is born with eyes that are still developing and adapting to the world around them. At birth, their vision is blurry and they can only focus on objects about 8 to 12 inches away—roughly the distance to a parent’s face during feeding. Over the first few months, their vision improves as their eye muscles strengthen and their brain processes visual information.

Basic Eye Care Routine for Newborn Baby

Taking care of a newborn baby’s eyes is essential to ensuring their eye health and development. Here are some important tips for caring for a newborn’s eyes:

Cleanliness: Keep your hands clean when touching your baby’s face, especially around the eyes. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before handling your baby.

Avoid Harsh Products: When cleaning your baby’s face and eyes, stick to plain water or a saline solution. Avoid using soaps, shampoos, or other products that may irritate their sensitive skin and eyes.

Trim Those Tiny Nails: Newborns can unintentionally scratch their own eyes with their sharp nails. Keep their nails trimmed to minimize the risk of injury.

Proper Handling: Always handle your baby’s head with care, supporting it when lifting or carrying them. This helps prevent any accidental pressure on their eyes and face.

Avoid Direct Sunlight: Protect your baby’s eyes from direct sunlight. Use a hat or stroller with a sunshade when outdoors. Never expose a newborn’s eyes to strong sunlight.

Cradle Cap: Some babies develop cradle cap, which can appear on the eyelids and eyebrows. Gently wash your baby’s face with a mild baby shampoo and use a soft brush or cloth to remove any flakes.

Blocked Tear Ducts: Some babies are born with blocked tear ducts, which can cause watery or sticky eyes. You can gently clean the eyes with a clean, damp cloth and gently massage the area between the eye and the nose to help open the duct. If the problem persists, consult a pediatrician.

Breast Milk: Some mothers use breast milk to clean their baby’s eyes. Breast milk has natural antibodies that can help prevent infections. Simply express a few drops of breast milk onto a clean cloth or cotton ball and gently wipe the baby’s eyes.

Observe for Abnormalities: Keep an eye out for any signs of eye problems, such as excessive tearing, redness, swelling, discharge, or unusual eye movements. If you notice any of these, consult a pediatrician promptly.

Proper Hygiene: Ensure proper hygiene in your baby’s sleeping area. Clean the bedding, especially the pillow and pillowcases, regularly to prevent dust and allergens that could irritate the eyes.

Regular Pediatric Checkups: Follow your pediatrician’s recommended schedule for well-baby checkups. Your doctor will assess your baby’s overall health, including eye development, during these visits.

Signs of Eye Problems in Newborns

It’s important to be vigilant about your newborn’s eye health and to recognize potential issues early on. Some signs to watch out for include:

Excessive Tearing: While some tearing is normal, if your baby’s eyes seem to be excessively watery or constantly teary, it could indicate a blocked tear duct or an infection.

Redness or Swelling: Red or swollen eyes, along with discharge or crust, might be signs of conjunctivitis, commonly known as “pink eye.” This could be due to an infection or irritation.

Constant Eye Rubbing: If your baby is rubbing their eyes frequently, it could be a sign of discomfort or an underlying issue.

Unusual Appearance: Crossed eyes or misalignment of the eyes can sometimes be observed in newborns. While this is often temporary, consult a pediatrician or eye specialist if it persists beyond a few months.

Sensitivity to Light: If your baby appears to be overly sensitive to light and consistently squints or closes their eyes in bright environments, it could indicate an issue.

When to Consult a Doctor

If you notice any of the signs mentioned above or have concerns about your baby’s eye health, it’s essential to consult a pediatrician or an ophthalmologist. Timely intervention can prevent potential complications and ensure your baby’s eyes develop properly.

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Eye care of newborn baby requires a gentle touch and a watchful eye. By following a simple and thoughtful routine, you can help ensure their eye health and comfort. Remember to maintain cleanliness, be cautious while handling, and be aware of any signs of discomfort or issues. Regular check-ups with a healthcare professional are crucial during your baby’s early months to address any concerns promptly. As your baby’s eyes continue to develop, your care and attention will play a vital role in their overall visual development and well-being.

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