10 Pointers to Take Care of Your Baby's Eyes
Dr Preeti Patil Chhablani, Pediatric Ophthalmologist and Neuro-ophthalmologist Jasti V. Ramanamma Children’s Eye Care Center L V Prasad Eye Institute Hyderabad
- Look for signs of eye disease early – whitish reflex in the pupils (instead of the normal black shadow), very large eyes, intense watering, redness and yellowish discharge – all these need immediate attention, so seek consultation with a pediatric eye specialist as soon as possible
- Avoid applying external chemicals – this includes kajal and eyeliners – they can cause allergic reactions since your baby’s eyes are very sensitive
- If your baby was born prematurely, the risk of developing eye problems is higher – so an eye examination is required at about one month of age to make sure that there are no retinal problems and then at about 6-8 months of age to look for squint or ‘cross eyes’ and to check if your baby needs glasses.
- Mild whitish yellow discharge from the eyes, especially in the mornings, is common in the first few months - Clean your baby’s eyes with warm (boiled and cooled) water and clean cotton swabs. Do not constantly rub the baby’s eyes with tissues / clothes.
- A little ‘squinting’ or misalignment of the eyes is common in the first few months of life – but if you feel your baby is squinting beyond 3-4 months of age, or if the eyes are ‘shaking’ or ‘wiggling’ (nystagmus), a consultation with a pediatric eye specialist is required.
- Avoid exposure to excessive dust, polluted air, chemical vapours, smoke, etc.
- When your baby starts crawling, use brightly coloured toys, lights, etc. to engage his / her attention – this will help with vision stimulation and encourage hand eye coordination
- If your baby’s general development is delayedand there is a delay in achieving motor milestones such as neck holding, sitting up or crawling, there maybe associated visual problems – an eye examination is required so that early intervention can be made possible.
- Always keep sharp objects like pens, pencils, knives, forks, etc. out of reach of your baby – accidental eye injuries are common, even in infancy, and may result in severe visual impairment
- 10. Maintain a healthy diet with the appropriate vitamins and minerals – just like the skin or certain other organs, eyes can be damaged by vitamin deficiencies.