Babies can get the same types of eye infections that adults and children are prone to, so they often show similar symptoms. Some of the most common signs of an eye infection in infants include swollen eyelids, redness in and around the eyes, excess tear production, and discharge. Of course, fussiness and crying can signal eye pain if there seems to be no other reason for this kind of behavior. While these are the symptoms most often observed with common eye infections like conjunctivitis, there are other eye issues that are rarer, resulting in symptoms that include small bumps and eyelash loss.
One of the most common causes of baby eye infection is conjunctivitis. The viral form usually causes watery eyes, swollen eyelids, and redness in the whites of the eyes. There is also usually clear discharge and symptoms of a cold, such as a runny nose and congestion. On the other hand, bacterial conjunctivitis usually causes yellow discharge, crusty eyes that may be stuck shut, swollen eyelids, and watery, red eyes. There is also an allergic form of this condition, which causes itching, excessive tears, eye swelling, and allergy symptoms that may include sneezing, a scratchy throat, and an itchy nose.
There are some eye conditions that babies can get that many people have never heard of. For example, blepharitis can result in loss of eyelashes, crusty eyelids, itchy eyes, excessive tears, and eyelashes that grow in the opposite direction. This condition is caused by the production of excess oil by the glands that are located near the eyelids, resulting in the overgrowth of bacteria. Some babies also suffer from a blocked tear duct, which is usually present from birth if it does show up. Symptoms of this baby eye infection usually include excessive tearing, redness near the eyes and nose, and yellow mucus in the eye.
Another type of baby eye infection is characterized by a small bump in one eye, called a stye, which is an oil gland that is inflamed. It usually appears as a red pimple on the edge of the eyelid, causing the eye to tear up and become both tender and sensitive to light. This baby eye infection may result in fussiness from the baby since it causes some discomfort, including the feeling that there is sand in the eye. A stye can eventually become a chalazion, which is just a larger bump that forms in response to a blocked oil gland. The symptoms of this type of baby eye infection are usually the same as a stye, but when not treated, it may grow large enough to block the vision.