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My child has sticky eyes, what should I do?

Sticky eyes children

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Sticky eyes are common in babies

It’s actually quite normal for babies to have sticky eyes for a while, as their tear ducts are often not fully developed and open at birth. About 20% of babies suffer this and it won’t hurt them, either when you wipe away the stickiness or whilst it remains there.

This can continue for up to a few months, though it usually only takes a few weeks. The gluey material needs to be wiped away with damp cotton wool moistened with sterile water. Massaging the tear duct every few hours by gently putting pressure on the side of the nose can also help, by clearing blockages and help the duct to develop.

If, however, the tear duct is still blocked at 12 months, then you’ll need to approach your GP who may refer you to an eye specialist. Sticky eyes in babies can cause some redness and swelling though this poses no intrinsic risk.


The problem, may, however, be conjunctivitis if your child’s eyes are red or pink: Although harmless, this condition is not very pleasant for anyone (it affects all age groups) and will need treatment from your GP. Conjunctivitis is infectious, so wash your hands before and after applying any eye drops you’ve been prescribed.

Babies, toddlers and older children suffering from conjunctivitis may have to endure some rather unpleasant-looking secretions coming from their eyes, which may become so crusted up overnight that they can’t open them. Again, this is nothing to worry about: As well as resulting from conjunctivitis this can happen in babies when they suffer a minor cold or other infection, and it’s Mother Nature’s way of getting rid of the bacteria that needs to develop to maintain their immune system and keep infections from developing into something worse. Just as this kind of grot finds its way out their nose and mouth when they have a cold, it can come out of their eyes as well. The recommended treatment here is to use a warm, clean face flannel and wash their eyes from the nose outwards.

Sticky eyes Not all conjunctivitis develops from contact with an infected person: Sometimes it comes from an allergic reaction: This tends to happens with kids that already suffer known allergies like hay fever, dust mites and others – or it may come from particular soaps, chlorine or other chemicals but this should be fairly easy to diagnose yourself.

As always, let your parental instincts guide you and err on the side of caution if necessary – but in the case of sticky eyes you’ll never need to use the emergency services!




About Dani Lee

About Dani Lee

Dani enjoys turning her hand to writing when she gets a chance. Dani works full time and has 2 children, Sophie, 7 and Harry, 15 months and if anyone knows what it is to be a working parent, she does!

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