Eye Infections In Babies: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment Options

Eye infection can occur at any stage of life. From new born infants to adulthood, infection in the eyes is quite disturbing and definitely worrisome as it can lead to loss of vision in some cases. Ophthalmic problem in infants can begin right from the birth canal when they pass through the mother’s womb. Toddlers and older children can suffer from eye infection when they are exposed to people who are infected.

There are varieties of eye infection and among them pink eye or conjunctivitis is the most common. It can develop both in infants and elder children.

The common symptom of any type of eye infection is itching, burning, redness and watering of the eyes. Sometimes the discharge from the eyes is thick white or yellow in color instead of watery.

Eye infection in children can occur due to bacterial, virus and fungus. Treatment depends on the cause. Antibacterial eye drops are useful if the disease is caused due to bacteria. In conjunctivitis home remedies can alleviate the symptoms and make the baby more comfortable.

What Causes Eye Infections In Babies?

Eye infection in children can occur due to bacteria, virus and fungus.

Below are given some of the common eye infection in children.

  • Viral conjunctivitis is caused due to virus infection. The virus can spread from one person to another through close contact. If someone having viral conjunctivitis comes in close contact with the child, he may spread the infection to the child.
  • Bacterial conjunctivitis is caused due to streptococci or staphylococci bacteria. It can occur in children and toddler who come in contact with a person suffering from bacterial eye disease.
  • Infants can contract eye infection when they pass through the birth canal. Gonorrhea and Chlamydia are two organisms most commonly associated with neonatal eye infection. It occurs when the pregnant woman is suffering from this infection. Both organisms reside in the vagina. The infant comes in contact with these organisms during childbirth. Gonorrhea is sexually transmitted disease.
  • Stye is caused when the glands in the eyelids are infected by bacteria.

 Symptoms Of Eye Infections In Babies

The symptoms of eye infection in children are almost similar to those present in adults. The common symptoms of eye infection are:

  • Redness and itching in the eyes.
  • Watering in the eyes.
  • The discharge can be thick white or yellow like pus.
  • Grating sensation in the eyes. The child rubs his eyes continuously as he feels sensation of sand in his eyes.
  • Crusts develop on the eyelid and lashes.
  • Child constantly blinks his eyes.
  • Swollen eyelids.
  • Child becomes sensitive to light.
  • Visual difficulty.

Treatment Options For Eye Infections In Infants

Parents should always consult an ophthalmologist if they suspect an infection in their child’s eye. After examination, the ophthalmologist will prescribe medications accordingly. Usually antibiotic drops and ointment are prescribed by the doctor for bacterial infection in the eyes. There are other types of drops that may be effective in case of viral infection.

In viral conjunctivitis, home remedies are effective as there is no specific medication for treating viral conjunctivitis. The main aim is to alleviate symptoms as the condition heals without treatment after few days.

  • Place cool tea bag on the infected eyelids as it will help in soothing the eyes.
  • Salt solution is effective home remedy for treating pink eye in children. Add a pinch of salt in boiling water. Now let the solution cool down. Rinse the eyelids with this solution.
  • In infants breast milk is useful treatment for pink eyes. Take two to three drops of breast milk and apply it on the infected eye. Breast milk has mild antibacterial qualities. It also acts as a soothing agent for the infected eyes.
  • Sometimes tear ducts get blocked and lead to eye infection. If the underlying problem is due to blockage of tear ducts, massage in the nasal corner of the eyes will help to relieve the condition.