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When to Worry: Eye and Vision Problems

Are you worried that your little one is having problems with his eyes? Learn what could be wrong and whether to call the doctor.

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-Does your newborn look a little cross-eyed? No worries. Babies aren't born with perfect eyesight. At first, he can't see anything farther than your face. And it's common for his eyes not to move in unison. By three months, he should be able to track a toy across his field of vision. And by three to four months, that cross-eyed look should disappear. Tell your doctor if your baby has a clouded-looking lens, white color in the pupil, redness that doesn't go away, or if he rubs his eyes a lot. Also, be aware of these common baby eye conditions. The first is a blocked tear duct. If your baby tears a lot and collects mucus in the corner of his eye, he may have a blocked duct. The problem usually clears up on its own, but initially it helps to massage the duct and wipe away the mucus. If it persists beyond 10 months of age, talk to your pediatrician. Another condition is strabismus, which causes one eye to wander after a baby is four months old. It's easily managed when caught and treated early. And lastly, there's amblyopia or lazy eye. This happens when the vision in one eye is weak so your child uses the other eye almost exclusively. This is hard for parents to detect, but don't worry, doctors check for it during well visits. It's usually treated by temporarily using a patch or putting drops into the good eye.