Eye cleaning of the newborn: how to do it?

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Cleaning the eyes of babies is as simple as it is important. The eyes of the little ones, in fact, are particularly delicate and can easily become inflamed. Here are some tips for the daily cleansing of the eyes of your baby.

In this article

  • how to clean the eyes of the newborn
  • conjunctivitis in the newborn
  • stenosis of the tear duct

How to clean the eyes of the newborn

It will take about two months for the baby's tear mechanism to reach physiological development: until then it is completely normal for the baby to wake up with his eyes closed and full of sticky secretions. However, the thick, sticky liquid could irritate the baby's eyes and become a breeding ground for infections. For this reason, cleaning your eyes every day is an important gesture of care.

Let us now how to proceed for daily cleaning of the eyes:

  • wash your hands thoroughly and dry them with a clean towel;
  • use a garza sterile disposable soaked in physiological solution (use the plastic vials) or boiled water, or a wipe for ocular use (can be bought at the pharmacy);
  • gently clean the eye with a light movement from the inside to the outside, avoiding rubbing the garzina too much so as not to irritate the skin;
  • if there are crusts that are more difficult to remove, you can soften them a little before removing them.

Then there are a number of actions to avoid when cleaning the eyes:

  • do not use the same gauze for both eyes, so as not to carry germs from one eye to the other;
  • do not use the cotton because the filaments could irritate the eyes;
  • avoid using the chamomile to impregnate the garzina. The chamomile that we buy in sachets at the supermarket is in fact often full of sugars that would irritate the eyes even more. Additionally, chamomile tea could cause allergies.

Hopefully, you don't need to do this more than once a day. This simple habit is also useful for checking that the eyes are not red or swollen due to conjunctivitis: a common eye infection in newborns.

Read also: Red or "dirty" baby's eye

Conjunctivitis in the newborn

If the eye gets dirty very often, it is observed presence of a stringy mucus and / or if a yellow dot forms in the inner point of the lower eyelid, you must instead consult the pediatrician because it could be the signal of an infection in progress that must be treated with the appropriate medical aids. Sometimes we can find ourselves faced with conjunctivitis, a common problem in children, from the first months of life. Conjunctivitis in the newborn is usually caused by the blocked tear duct, that is, that little channel that under the skin goes from the edge of the lower eyelid at the inner corner of the eye to the inside of the nose.

In other cases, however, the cause could be a bacterial or viral infection, or an allergy. That is why it is always best to consult your pediatrician.

Read also: Red eyes and conjunctivitis in children

The stenosis of the tear duct

Many newborns, after two months of birth, continue to have sticky eyes and they tear very often: it could be the stenosis of the tear duct, a 'congenital obstruction of the nasolacrimal canal. Simply put, the Hassner valve that opens the tear duct remains closed. It is a fairly common condition in young children and in general resolves within the first year of life, but your pediatrician may advise you to do a massage to the eye: it starts from top to bottom in the corner of the eye and reaches the root of the nose. This simple massage must be performed at least twice a day and must be combined with proper eye cleansing.

The taste movement is what goes from the inside out with delicate and non-aggressive gestures so as not to irritate the eyes even more.

Sources used: booklet "When a child is born" of the Ministry of Health; information material of the Del Paesena Society of Preventive and Social Pediatrics (SIPPS).

- Updated on 07.12.2022

  • eye cleaning
  • eyes
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