|As a newborn my baby never had tears when he cried, but as
he gets older he seems to have tears in his eyes a lot. Sometimes
I think he is upset and he is actually fine. Is this normal?
Newborn babies only start to produce tears after a month
or so. Tears are produced by a gland and are actually the
fluid that lubricates the eye. Excess tears drain through
ducts in the inner corner of each eye and into the nose.
Babies have very tiny ducts and so the possibility of blockage
exists. In this case the excess fluid is unable to drain
away and so the eyes take on a teary appearance. This is
probably why your baby appears to be crying when he is not.
Generally the blockage will disappear on its own by the
time the baby reaches the age of around 1. Although this
is usually not a problem, you should mention this situation
to your doctor or health worker at your next appointment
and ask them to show you a gentle massage technique to help
release the blockage.
If you do use this technique, you need to be scrupulous
with your hygiene and make sure your hands are clean. The
massage should not make the baby’s eyes red or puffy,
and if this occurs you should take the baby to the doctor.
The other signs of problems are if one eye has a different
appearance to the other, or if you baby seems sensitive
to light. Again these are reasons for a doctor’s visit.
When the ducts are blocked, mucous can build up in the
corner of the eye, especially after a sleep. Enough mucous
can accumulate to stick the eyelid together. This is not
problematic as long as the mucous is white or yellowish.
The eye should be cleaned using boiled and cooled water
and sterile cottonwool. However if the mucous is dark and
the eye looks red or irritated, then a doctor should be
consulted. Generally antibiotic drops or cream will clear
up any infection, but it is important to get it seen to
as soon as you notice a problem.
Eyes - Squint