image001 In most cases when babies are born, it is not a new thing to see your new born baby having or developing sticky eyes in the first few weeks of birth. This is a condition that most mothers have to deal with. However, it is recommended that most mothers have knowledge on newborn sticky eyes which is characterized by blockage of the tear duct system. The condition should be well taken care of to prevent any further infection that may lead to eye problems in the future. It might not be fatal since it disappears gradually as the baby develops, but it might persist to a level of medical intervention, which is rare.

Is It Normal for My Newborn to Have Sticky Eyes?

Most of the newborns may have sticky or watery eyes. This happens often due to slow development of their tear ducts which are the tubes where tears flow away from the eyes. About one out of the five babies will experience newborn sticky eyes which may affect one or even both of their eyes. Eventually, you may have to wipe your baby’s eyes off some glue-like substance, this is important in ensuring your baby’s eyeball is white and in good health. This condition is usually not serious and clears up as the baby grows up. However, watery eyes may return due to cold since the opened tear duct can block again. Watery eye in a new born may be rarely associated with other eye related infections.

What Causes Newborn Sticky Eyes?

There are different reasons which can lead to this condition. Bacterial infection such as conjunctivitis is one of the causes, and it is the most prevalent. It is characterized by blocked tear duct leading to sticky eyes. If you encounter these symptoms for the first time with your baby, it could be a challenge in determining the cause of this. Your pediatrician may treat your baby for a possible infection. He or she may wipe the discharge with a warm compress or even prescribe an antibiotic ointment for treatment purpose. If the condition doesn’t improve, then most likely the problem could be a blocked tear duct. Here are some of the causes of blocked tear duct.



Congenital conditions

Babies may be born with a blockage within their tear duct system, mainly the nasolacrimal duct. This will be due to a failure of the thin membrane sealing nasolacrimal duct to open.

Nose trauma

In case of an injury to the nose, the tear duct system which is injured may get blocked by the scar tissue.

Chronic nose infection

Irritation of tissues may result from chronic sinusitis leading to formation of scars which then block the tear ducts.

Nose polyps

These are protrusions which grow out of the membranous lining causing obstruction of the tear duct system and it’s mainly caused by allergies.


This is an infection that affects the conjunctiva leading to inflammation. However, in some cases it may lead to blockage of the tear duct system particularly after viral infections.

How to Treat Newborn Sticky Eyes

This condition should not worry you since it disappears after full development of the tear duct. It normally lasts for about a week, but in some cases it could extend up to several months. You can wipe the gluey substance that develops around your baby’s eyeball with moistened sterile water using a damp cotton wool gently. In addition, you can massage the outer side of the nose every few hours since it may help in development of the tear duct. However, if the condition persists for more than 12 months, you may consult your pediatrician who will refer you to an eye specialist who may open the tear duct through a certain medical procedure. Therefore, you should monitor your baby’s eye condition and in case of any abnormalities, visit your pediatrician instantly.

When to See a Doctor

Before visiting the doctor, it’s important to have some basic knowledge about the blocked tear ducts. You can be able to monitor your baby’s eye health efficiently and detect this condition easily if you have knowledge on it. Tear ducts are small tubules through which tears drain from the eye. If blocked, the tubes may fill up with fluid causing swelling and inflammation. This condition is usually most prevalent in babies and it is not regarded as a very serious condition since it clears up on its own as the baby grows. Some basic information regarding blocked tear duct condition is explained below.

1. The Symptoms of Blocked Tear Duct

Most the symptoms affect only one eye and occur after a few weeks of birth, including:

  • Heavy tearing which range from wet looking eyes and tears running down the cheek.
  • Redness or swelling around or below the eye or the nose.
  • White or yellow build up at the corner of an eye.

2. Diagnosing and Treatment of Blocked Tear Duct

This condition is diagnosed based on physical examination and medical history. Treatment in most cases is not necessary since the condition is usually mild and does not last for long; however, there are some important procedures which may be undertaken to prevent further infection.

  • Keep your baby’s eye clean by wiping out any buildup with sterilized damp cotton.
  • Massage your child gently around the blockage areas to prevent fluid buildup, noting that this should only be done with doctor’s prescription.
  • Don’t expose your child to cold, sunlight and wind.
  • Wash your hands always after handling your baby’s eye region.

Antibiotics may be considered if the infection signs develop. In addition, probing procedures may be carried out if the condition persists for more than 12 months. Probing opens up the ducts successfully in about 80 out of 100 babies with this case.

Want to know more about newborn sticky eyes? Check out the video below: