Do you have a newborn who has discharge from his eyes, and are you worried about an infection? Newborn eye infections are caused by a variety of reasons, but plugged tear ducts are the most common cause of eye "problems" in newborn babies. Is this something you should worry about? How do you treat it? When should you see your baby's pediatrician about a discharging eye?
Blocked tear ducts are caused by fluids not draining into the nose, which can happen with newborns because they only just started tearing at all. When tears are not drained away, the remaining fluids can become infected. There you have it that characteristic newborn eye infection with crusty, thick yellow discharge in the corners of your baby's eyes. The best approach is massaging the corner of your baby's eyes frequently. This will drain fluid away, and also encourage the membrane that stops the fluid from moving into the nose to break, meaning that your baby's tears can leave the eye properly.
This kind of eye infection is most frequently seen in very young babies, and it should clear up totally by the time your baby has reached six months. Blocked tear ducts may recur beyond the newborn stage and are usually not anything to worry about. But you should keep an eye on your baby's eyes and watch for the crusts to clear up. Sorry for the cheesy pun. Cheesy puns are hard to pass over! So, when do you go to the doctor?
If your newborn's eyes will not clear up after frequent massages, or you are simply worried (worry is an integral part of parenting a newborn!). To make sure to mention yellow, crusty eyes at a regular well baby appointment in any case. In some cases, babies will be prescribed antibiotic eye ointment to help the infection go away. You may also like to read about newborn milestones.