Puffy eyes in babies are somewhat common and in many cases the condition will go away on its own. Sometimes puffy eyes can be a sign of an underlying condition or other issue. By taking a closer look at the circumstances, it can be determined whether it is a good idea to visit the doctor or to let the puffiness go away on its own.
Eyes at Birth
Puffy eyes are common right after birth due to the pushing and pressure a baby goes through during birth. Medication is also applied to a newborn’s eyes to fight infection after birth, which may also cause puffy eyes. Within a few days, the puffiness will reside.
Conjunctivitis and Puffy Eyes
Conjunctivitis, otherwise known as pink eye, is an infection of the eye. Many babies may acquire pink eye during delivery as they pass through the birth canal. Pink eye can cause a baby’s eyes to appear puffy and also red. Babies may also get pink eye from interaction with other children with pink eye. Antibiotics are needed to treat conjunctivitis.
Allergies and a Baby's Eyes
According to Dr. Alan Greene, one reason a baby may have puffy eyes is due to an allergic reaction. Allergies can be present in very young babies and can cause itchy, red and puffy eyes. An allergic reaction such as puffy eyes could happen after eating or being exposed to something the baby is allergic to.
Ptosis is a medical condition in which the muscle that raises the upper eyelids doesn’t develop properly. This condition can affect one or both eyes. It makes the upper eyelids appear drooped or puffy. Surgery may be required if ptosis is the reason for puffy eyes and it causes difficulty for the baby to see properly.
Crying and Sleeping
Crying is another reason babies may have puffy or swollen eyes. Crying causes eyes to swell from reacting to emotions and a larger amount of blood flow through the eyes. In time, the swelling dissipates on its own through the blood stream. A baby may also have puffy eyes from sleeping on his face for extended lengths of time, which can cause blood and fluid to pool in one area. A rough or sleepless night can also cause a baby to have puffy eyes.
If a baby has puffy eyes, washing the face with a cool wet cloth can help alleviate swelling. Contact a doctor to discuss potential health issues if a baby’s eyes are puffy for more than three days, if you baby has additional symptoms or if you have concerns.