Babies can be born with certain eye problems and conditions or develop them after birth. Some of the most commonly seen eye problems in small children are eye infections (of bacterial or viral origin), teary eyes, uncoordinated eyes and crossed eyes.
When to Check Baby’s Eyes?
Newborn’s vision is checked for the first time right after birth, while at the same time doctors and nurses weigh and measure the baby. After that, every visit to the nurse or doctor also involves eye check, so that any eye problem that arises can be diagnosed in earliest possible stage.
Doctors commonly advise all parents to visit an optometrist for the first time when the baby turns 6 months. Next visit, if everything is perfectly fine, is supposed to be at 3 years of age and then every two years once the child reaches school years. However, your pediatrician can also check your baby’s eyes and vision, if you decide so. These doctors are qualified to notice and diagnose any eye problems and you do not necessarily have to visit an optometrist.
About Eye Infections
One of the most frequently seen causes of eye infections in babies is viral conjunctivitis. The child usually has a cold before the infection spreads to the eye and initiates this problem (punk eye). In other cases, it can be some bacterial infection of the eye, which is commonly considered more serious problem than a viral eye infection.
Eye infection caused by some virus can trigger watery eyes and puffy eyelids in babies. Some children may experience redness of the white part of the eye, while there can also be redness of the inside of the eyelids, caused by this condition. Bacterial eye infection, on the other hand, is known to cause matted eyelids (they stuck together) and sometimes some yellow discharge coming out of the affected eye (or eyes).
If your child has a viral infection of the eye and you have noticed the mentioned symptoms, try to rinse the eyes with some warm water and clean cotton balls. Clean eyes are less likely to further complicate the problem. Some suggest using breast milk for the same purpose, squeezing some of it to the corner of the eye. Most viral infections of the eye resolve after several days and they can be transferred to another person. Besides that, there are no other problems these infections could cause.
Yellow discharge from the eyes or matted eyelids suggest that infection is very likely viral and the child should be treated. Visit your pediatrician and he/she will examine the child and probably give you some prescription antibiotic eye drops.