Why does my baby always have watery or sticky eyes?

Why does my baby always have watery or sticky eyes?

The tear ducts from the corners of the eyes to the nose are usually narrower in newborn babies. They can be slightly blocked, causing accumulation of tears in the corners of the eyes, making it watery. When the tears dried up, the eyes will look sticky. If it is not excessive, this condition can be normal.

What can I do to help?

You can help your baby to clean the sticky eyes. First, you need to clean your hands and prepare some clean cotton buds, cool-boiled water and a small pot. Use a cotton bud soaked with cool boiled-water to swab the eyes, from the corners of the eyes near the nose to the other ends of the eyes. Use a new cotton bud for each swabbing, repeat the swabbing until the eyes are clean. If the tear ducts are slightly obstructed, you can use your cleaned hands to massage the corners of your baby’s eyes near the nose by a downward motion three times a day.

When should I bring my baby to visit a doctor?

If the eye discharge becomes more and more severe, the color of the discharge becomes deep yellowish or greenish; or if the “white” of the eye is red or there is swelling over the eyelid, these may indicate infection. You should bring your baby to visit your doctor as soon as possible. Also, if your baby keeps on crying and is afraid of light, they may be signs of the baby having pain in the eye, you should also seek medical advice as well.

Most of the babies will have this condition improved by the age of 6 months. If the condition persists until age 1, you should bring your baby to visit an eye doctor.

If you wish to watch a video clip on “How to clean sticky eyes”, you can visit the website of the Family Health Service of the Department of Health to browse our audio-visual resources on “Care of Newborns and Young Babies”. Our website is www.fhs.gov.hk.