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Baby Eye Drainage

Question

My 11-day-old son woke up this morning with mild yellowish drainage and slight crusting in his left eye. Should he be seen by his doctor? His eye does not appear red or exceptionally irritated.

Answer

Normally, the body makes a steady supply of tears to bathe and protect the eyes. They drain away through little ducts at the corner of the eye closest to the nose and are replenished at the same time. It is quite common for one or both of these tiny ducts to be blocked. If this happens, the baby may then get slight yellowish drainage and crusting (as the excess tear film evaporates), especially when they wake up.

Kids who get blocked tear ducts often have it off and on throughout the first year. You can simply wipe the crust away with a clean washcloth. A gentle massage over the ducts can prevent some of the blockage.

Kids whose drainage system is still prone to blockage are also a bit more prone to infections, so if the white part of the eye gets red or new symptoms develop, it is important to check in with the doctor. Also, if the amount of drainage increases greatly or if it still happens after the first birthday, it should be checked.

 

All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.