A Baby's Eyes
Warning Signs of Eye and
Vision Problems

Although the presence of eye or vision
problems in babies is rare, they can develop.
Indications of eye and vision problems in
your baby to watch for include:
Excessive tearing, which overflows onto the cheeks - this may indicate
blocked tear ducts in babies over a month old.

Difficulty opening each eyelid fully - by 3 months of age.

Red, swollen, or encrusted eyelids, or the presence of a
yellowish-greenish looking discharge
in the morning - this could be a sign
your baby has an an eye infection.

One eye doesn't look directly at you, especially after 3 months of age -
this may signal a your baby has a problem with eye muscle control.

Extreme sensitivity to light or one eye appearing larger than the other -
this may be due to an elevated pressure in your baby's eyes.

Appearance of a white pupil - this may be the sign of the presence of an
eye cancer or a congenital cataract.

If you notice any of these signs, take your baby to your
pediatrician or eye doctor for
immediate evaluation.
Here are a couple of simple checks for possible eye problems parents can do.
They do not replace a comprehensive eye health and vision assessment by
your eye doctor at about 6 months of age. But they may give some early
indications of eye or vision problems in your baby that warrant more
immediate attention.

Take your baby into a darkened room and watch his/her reaction when
a bright overhead light is turned on. Your baby should respond to the sudden
brightness by blinking or closing his/her eyes.

Make a loud sound near your baby by clapping your hands or squeezing
a toy that makes noise and watch your baby's reaction. Your baby should turn
his/her eyes toward the sound.

Choose a brightly colored toy and hold it about 8 to 10 inches in front of
your baby's eyes. Move the object up and down and side to side to see if your
baby will follow it with his/her eyes or turn his/her head to keep it in the line
of sight. By two to three months of age, babies should be attracted to and try
to follow objects moved in front of their eyes.

If your baby fails to respond appropriately to any of these procedures,
arrange for an examination by your doctor.
What Causes a Baby's'
Eyes to Change Color?
Parents of babies born prematurely need to be aware of a potentially blinding
eye disorder called retinopathy of prematurity (ROP). It primarily affects
premature infants weighing about 3 pounds or less who are born before 31 weeks
of gestation.

ROP develops when abnormal blood vessels grow and spread throughout the
retina, the light sensitive lining at the back of the eye. These blood vessels can
leak and scar the retina, pulling it out of position. ROP, which usually develops in
both eyes, can lead to lifelong vision loss and blindness.

If your baby was born prematurely, be sure your doctor conducts a through
evaluation of the retina to check for this condition.

The color of a baby's eyes is
determined by how much pigment
is present in the iris, the doughnut
shaped structure that controls how
much light enters the eye.

The iris contains a pigment called
melanin. Lighter eyes have little
melanin, while darker eyes contain
more of the pigment.

At birth, the pigmentation process
within the iris is not complete.
Melanin production during the first
year of life usually results in a
darker eye color.

Babies of African or Asian decent
are generally born with brown eyes
that stay brown. Caucasian babies
often have gray or blue eyes at
birth, which can change to green,
hazel, or brown by the time they
are nine months old.
TM
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