Baby with Red Eyes: Causes and Best Treatments

Red eyes in babies - pink eye

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For parents, it is a common phenomenon for their newborns, infants or babies to have pink or red eyes. This can occur on one or both eyes or on part of it, for instance, you may have an infant’s eye red in a corner.

This condition may signify many things. If not an allergic reaction, then it might be an infection. Both cases come along with puffiness. Also, the redness may affect the eyelid, below the eye, around it or even on its white part.

Red eyes in babies - pink eye

Why are they red

What causes red or bloodshot eyes in kids? This is a common phenomenon in adults but not in children. Therefore, if it happens to your infant, it may signal that all is not well. In some cases, they may not turn this color, but pink.

Since you can’t tell whether it’s an infection or an allergic reaction, it is advisable to seek prompt medical help in the case. This would ensure timely treatment, thus preventing further complications.

Why would your baby’s eyes turn red?

Besides the color change, it is possible for the baby to have other symptoms. For instance, a baby may have red and watery eyes or accompanied by a cough, be sneezing, among other symptoms. All these indicate all is not right.

As you know, eyes are always uncovered. This means that they fall victims to many allergens, bacterial and viral agents. As a result, their color turning red or pink is common. It’s also worth noting that your baby’s immunity is still weak. This, therefore, implies that any irritant adversely affects them more than adults.

Red eyes in infants or newborns are usually attributed to a few things. These causatives range from allergens to bacterial and viral infections.

Commonly, red eyes in kids are because of the following:

Reaction to allergies and treatments

This is the leading cause of eyes becoming red and watery, especially among babies. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, allergies in babies make them turn red and itchy.

The common symptoms of these allergies in kids include:

  1. Redness
  2. Severe itching
  3. Burning sensation on scratching
  4. Watery discharge

However, you are likely to note other symptoms that may seem unrelated. These include:

  • Sneezing
  • Sniffing
  • Stuffy nose
  • Congested nose

Many parents, however, are not aware of substances that can trigger allergies. The following could be the causatives allergies you need to know:

  • Allergens within the house such as mold, pet dander or even dust mites
  • Allergens outside your house such as weeds, pollens, and dust
  • Outdoor and indoor irritants such as smoke, perfumes, fumes and vehicle exhaust among others

Eye allergy treatments

On treatments of these allergies, notes that they are manageable. Eye allergies in newborns can be treated or managed by adopting the following practices:

  • Avoid dust in your house by always keeping the windows and doors of your house closed.
  • Always keep your baby covered when outdoors. You can also cover his eyes with some glasses.
  • Regularly wash his or her beddings to prevent those allergies caused by dust.
  • Keep your kid away from pets and other animals.
  • For treatment options, you can use eye drops, allergy shorts, artificial tears and oral antihistamines among others.

These are practices that you can try at home. Redness relief eye drops can be bought over-the-counter without any prescription. If all these measures don’t stop this problem, then consult a physician for further diagnosis.

Redness due to chalazion

In some cases, the redness may not be on the eyeball, i.e., he or she will experience it on the eyelid. This redness may be due to chalazion.

According to, a chalazion manifests in the form of a red painless bump. The bump may be noted in the lower or the upper eyelid both on the inner or outer part of the eyelid. The bump is because of accumulated fatty secretions and pus.

Chalazion bumps are painless and benign. If you note it on your child, just be relaxed. This is not a life-threatening condition. Also, chalazion bumps disappear naturally, even without any treatment.

In some rare cases, a chalazion may affect the white part of your baby’s eyes, as well as the cornea. Children with earlier conditions such as rosacea and blepharitis are at a higher risk of contracting chalazion.

If it is caused by a chalazion, the doctor might prescribe oral medications, topical antibiotics, ointments or even eye drops for red eyes. However, you should always regularly clean your baby’s eyes and compress it with a warm towel to reduce the severity of the condition.

Conjunctivitis or pinkeye

This condition might indicate that your newborn or child might be suffering from conjunctivitis. According to the American Optometric Association, conjunctivitis causes the conjunctiva to swell appear pink in color.

Conjunctivitis targets babies more than the adults. In babies, one or both eyes may turn red. The redness appears pinkish, thus the name. Although it is a minor infection, conjunctivitis is highly contagious.

What causes conjunctivitis in babies? If your conjunctivitis is the cause, then it might be attributed to the following risk factors:

  • Antibiotics administered during birth
  • Bacterial or viral infections
  • Allergens such as dust, smoke, and pollen

The common symptom of conjunctivitis in children is the red color. This color spreads all over the eye. At times, some people think that it is child bloodshot eyes.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology outlines that conjunctivitis may manifest in the following symptoms:

  • The eyelids become swollen
  • They may get itchy
  • Burning sensation
  • You may see some discharge
  • Your baby’s eyes become oversensitive to light

If you note any of the above signs, alongside the redness, then your kid might be suffering from conjunctivitis. Prompt medical attention is necessary.

Red and swollen – periorbital cellulitis

Have a closer look at the redness in your baby’s eyes. Where is it located? If it is located on the eyelid or the skin around the eye, then your baby might be having periorbital cellulitis.

Many sources note the fact that periorbital cellulitis is common among newborns and infants. It is attributed to bacterial and viral infections. Some of the microbial organisms that cause this condition in children include:

  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • Streptococcus pneumonia
  • streptococci,
  • anaerobes

If the redness is because of periorbital cellulitis are likely to have other symptoms, to expect. Some of these symptoms include:

  • Swelling especially on your eyelids
  • Severe pain
  • Mild fever
  • Due to swelling, the affected eye(s) might get shut
  • Blurred vision

If you visit a doctor, he might prescribe antibiotics to kill bacteria and viral organisms. Ointments and eye drops can also be prescribed, especially if the redness comes along with pain and itching.


  1. How to Cure Puffy Red Eyes in a Baby
  2. Redness Around a Baby’s Eyes
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