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Sticky eyes & conjunctivitis

Two different issues

‘Sticky eyes’ are common in newborn babies and young children while their tear ducts are developing. You may see some sticky stuff in the corner of the eyes or their eyelashes may be stuck together.

It normally clears up on its own, but you may have to clean your baby's eyes regularly with damp cotton wool. Use clean, cooled boiled water.

Wipe each eye from the corner by the nose outwards. Use a clean piece of cotton wool for each wipe. Remember to wash your hands before and afterwards and avoid sharing towels to prevent spreading infection.


The signs of 'sticky eyes' can sometimes be confused with an infection called 'conjunctivitis'. With conjunctivitis the signs are a yellowy, green sticky goo with a pink eye.

If you notice this is in an otherwise well child who is older than 1 month, it is pain free and will usually go away on its own within a week. Your child can attend nursery or school with this. If it perists longer than this, you should contact your Health Visitor or GP. Conjunctivitis can be passed on, so wash your hands and use a separate towel for your child.


Is there discharge in the corner of your baby’s eye and do their eyelashes appear to be stuck together?


Sticky eyes is a common condition that affects most babies, speak to your Health Visitor.


Use cooled boiled water on a clean piece of cotton wool for each wipe.

Source: DoH 2006.