When you’ve just given birth, you have your brand new beautiful bundle of joy but you also have a full bundle of new worries. Newborn swollen eye in babies are very common and can have many different causes.
Most problems can be sorted at home or are even physiological. Let’s look at the different causes of eye swelling in newborn babies.
A newborn’s eyes
As well as the care of the umbilical cord, the care of the baby’s eyes is one of the things that worry new parents the most. We worry about any kind of eye discharge, whether it’s a white or yellow discharge.
When our baby’s eye appears swollen, we worry there might be something wrong. We’ll now walk you through the main reasons why your baby’s eyes might appear swollen.
Newborn swollen eyelids
Most babies have some degree of eye swelling right after birth. They have extra fluid in their system that protects their most sensitive parts as they travel through the mother’s vagina, during birth.
Eyes definitely need that extra protection. That’s why a newborn’s upper and lower eyelids are quite swollen at birth.
Newborn baby puffy under the eyes
If the mother has had IV treatment during labor, the newborn infant’s eyes might appear even more swollen at birth, especially the area under the eyes.
Usually this eye swelling disappears a few hours after birth.
Newborn swollen eye with no discharge
Somehow, if something happens to both of our baby’s eyes we tend to think it might very likely be physiological. If the swelling happens in just one eye, however, even if there’s no discharge, we worry more, because we understand that anything that happens only to one eye is not physiological.
Newborn swollen eye with discharge
When one of our baby’s eyes is swollen and we can see it has some kind of discharge we tend to worry. We usually think it’s a serious infection, even though it’s common for most infants to experience some kind of eye trouble in their first year of life.
There are several reasons why your child would have a swollen eye with discharge, a pink eye or even itchy pink eyes. Talk to your doctor or healthcare provider about any worries you might have about your infant child’s eyes.
You can read more about this in Newborn Eye Discharge | Yellow, Green or White.
Our eyes are very sensitive. When we have an allergic reaction it usually shows in our eyes – inside and in the surrounding eyelid.
Contact your baby’s doctor if your baby’s eyes look compromised. An allergic reaction needs to be studied, even if it’s a mild allergy. Healthcare professionals who care for your family can help you determine the cause of your baby’s eye reaction.
Whether this reaction is caused by contact dermatitis or something that the baby has ingested, the allergen needs to be identified to make sure a severe allergic reaction doesn’t develop. A severe allergic reaction can be life-threatening and a first mild reaction to the allergen substance could mislead us into asking for specialist help.
A severe allergic reaction can cause trouble with breathing, eye damage or even liver failure the next time a person comes into contact with the substance he’s allergic to. Get in touch with your doctor if your baby seems to be having an allergic reaction.
Healthcare professionals will carry out some tests that include a physical examination and allergy tests, according to the national disease control agency.
Blocked tear duct
Blocked tear ducts are one of the most common reasons why swelling in a baby’s eye might occur.
A tear duct goes from the inner corner of the bottom eyelid to the nasal area where tears drain. When a baby has a blocked tear duct, the teardrops accumulate in the eye until they become big enough to drain outside of the eye.
This excessive moisture can cause the development of a gooey discharge that accumulates in the corners of the baby’s eyes.
Usually, parents can unblock their baby’s tear duct at home with a warm massage. Boil some euphrasia and rose petals. Let the water cool off. When it reaches a warm temperature, dip a clean washcloth into the water. Use the wet cloth as a warm compress to massage your baby’s blocked tear duct area. Try to push the blockage towards the nasal area.
If you suspect your baby has a blocked tear duct this article will be of help: Newborn Sticky Eye | What Should We Know?
The latest research shows that bacterial infection usually follows an untreated obstructed tear duct. If not resolved quickly, bacterial conjunctivitis of the baby’s eye could follow. In the most severe cases of tear duct blockage, surgery might be necessary.
Genital and oral herpes
Herpes is a sexually transmitted disease that can be transferred from the mother to the baby if the mother has active lesions at the time of birth.
Women who suffer from oral and genital herpes usually know about it and, these days, vertical transmission (mother to baby) tends to be quite rare. If the mother has active lesions at the time of birth, the baby’s passage through the birth canal is avoided by performing a cesarean section.
However, if the baby becomes infected with herpes, her eyes might be affected. Make sure you contact your doctor if you suffer from genital or oral herpes and your baby has some redness or lesions in her eyelids.
Most animal stings tend to be harmless. An insect bite usually causes redness of the area, swelling and mild to moderate pain when touched.
However, if an animal sting happens close to your baby’s eye, the swelling could look quite spectacular.
Talk to your doctor, who will be able to reassure you and possibly treat your baby’s eye.
Eye drops might be prescribed to keep your baby’s eye clean and reduce the swelling. Antibiotic drops are sometimes necessary, to avoid further infection.
Following an insect sting, it may take a few days for the eyelid swelling to go down.
Make sure you follow all advice and contact your doctor again if you’re worried about the development of your little one’s eye sting.
When your baby develops pink eye it could mean she has an infection in the eye. Let’s look at the most common symptoms of an eye infection.
Signs of infection
- Redness of the eye or eyelids
- Extreme sensitivity to light
- Swelling of the eyelid
- Pain in the area; you might be able to see this when you wipe your child’s eye.
Pink eye (conjunctivitis) means an inflammation due to an infection of the transparent lining of the eyelid and eyeball.
There are different types of conjunctivitis, depending on the source of the infection:
- Bacterial conjunctivitis. The infection is caused by bacterial colonization of the eye’s mucose. An antibiotic eye drop treatment usually clears the eye infection out in a few days
- Viral conjunctivitis. Neonatal conjunctivitis caused by a virus can be more difficult to treat as we haven’t yet found a treatment to get rid of a viral infection. However, there are retroviral treatments that will stop viral neonatal conjunctivitis from advancing. Make sure you follow your doctor’s advice to treat your baby’s viral conjunctivitis successfully.
- Chemical conjunctivitis. This type of neonatal conjunctivitis happens when the eye infection is caused by chemicals, such as fumes or smoke that get into the baby’s eye and harms its lining.If you’ve been using some chemicals in the house and your baby develops a reaction in her eyes, make sure you contact your family doctor to treat your baby’s condition and check no damage has been done to her eyes.