Why Do Some Babies Have Excess Eye Gunk?

Why Do Some Babies Have Excess Eye Gunk

Babies are born with quite narrow tear ducts, which are always at risk of clogging. Tear duct clogging can result in accumulation of yellowish or white gunk at the corners of the eyes. It may appear like pus and it is common among newborns, infants, kids, and adults.

Parents may worry if the baby has a lot of eye gunk. That gunk is quite unappealing and you would like to know why it is recurring. Continue reading to reveal answers.  

What Does Cause the Accumulation of a Lot of Eye Gunk?

Excess discharge of yellowish material can make the baby’s eyes look dirty. It is unappealing and that’s why most parents get worried. Most babies have such gunk on their eyelids when they wake up. The potential causes of eye gunk include the following:

Conjunctival inflammation:

Parents keep the room temperature high to protect the infant against cold. It also becomes a safe environment for survival of bacteria. Those bacteria can get into the baby’s eyes when he rubs them and cause conjunctivitis. The conjunctival inflammation can cause accumulation of gunk near eyes.

Newborn dacryocystitis:

This eye issue occurs due to clogged lacrimal ducts. Baby’s tears do not pass through tear ducts and get blended with external impurities. Consequently, eye gunk accumulate at the corner of the baby’s eyes.

Gonococcal purulent eye disease:

Gonococcal infection causes this eye disease. It incubates within 2-4 days and causes eyelid swelling and redness. This disease can also be responsible for accumulation of excess eye gunk. It poses the threat of blindness if not treated in time!

Corneal ulcer:

Bacterial infection is a known cause of corneal ulcer. This eye disease can cause inflammation and excess eye gunk. Parents need to keep the child’s hands clean to prevent bacterial infection like corneal ulcer.

Other less susceptible causes of excess eye gunk include inverted eyelids and irritable nature of the child. Both causes are rare and therefore babies get eye gunk mainly due to above-listed causes.

What Should Parents Do when the Baby Has a Lot of Eye Gunk?

eye gunk can be tough to remove. Babies have quite delicate skin and tightly stuck eye gunk can be painful to remove. You should be gentle and follow a perfect technique to remove that gunk.

Use a soft cotton towel to remove eye gunk:

Babies may have a lot of eye gunk in the morning. Most newborns have eyelashes ingrown. Those lashes get in contact with the eyeball and produce gunk. It should be easy to remove in the morning. Use a warm towel to clean your baby’s eyes. Excess eye gunk accumulation will stop once the baby’s eyelids grow outwards.

Cleaning fetal fat:

Newborns have a layer of gray-white substance on their eyes. It is not eye gunk, but it is also quite unappealing. The main function of fetal fat is to reduce heat dissipation. It accumulates over the baby’s eyes and sometimes promotes tearing. Removing such gunk can be daunting. So, use a soft wet cloth to gently wipe the baby’s eyes.

Contact the doctor if eye gunk are accompanied by inflammation:

You do not need a doctor’s assistance if the eye gunk do not cause any eye problem. It is a normal issue until your baby’s eyes turn red. You have to take your child to the doctor if there are excess eye gunk and redness in the baby’s eyes. It can be conjunctivitis or another eye infection!

What is the Best Medicine to Prevent Eye Gunk?

The buildup of eye gunk after a long sleep is normal. It does not require any special treatment or medication. Your baby will need medicine only when he has an eye disease. You should never use any over-the-counter medicine to reduce gunk accumulation near eyes.

Consider the following things before using a medicine to remove eye gunk:

Check if the baby’s eyes are opening:

Newborns can have excess buildup of eye gunk. Babies sleep most of the time until they are 3-4 month old. Excess eye gunk accumulation can also cause difficulty in opening the baby’s eyes. That’s why regular cleaning is necessary to prevent this situation.

You may need to take the baby to the doctor if his eyelids get glued due to gunk. The doctor will provide medicines to remove feces and clean the child’s eyes.

Medications to keep the baby calm:

Some doctors may recommend medicines to keep the baby cool and calm. Excess heat inside the body of a child can cause health issues. It can also increase eye gunk buildup. The doctor may provide medications to improve the performance of the baby’s internal organs. Thus, the child will stay cool and calm.

Clearing eye gunk with home remedies:

You do not need any special herb or home remedy to feed the child. Use a clean towel and soak it into lukewarm water. Rub that towel gently over the child’s eyes when he wakes up. Do it every day until the baby is 5-6 months old. Thus, his eyes will stay clean and free of germs.

Cleaning your baby’s eyes isn’t enough to prevent bacterial infection. You should also keep the entire house clean and wash your baby’s hands time-and-again. It will prevent eye infection and there won’t be excess buildup of eye gunk.

What to Feed Babies with Excess Eye Gunk Buildup?

You should feed things which keep the child cool. He does not need anything special until he is 6 months old. You can change your child’s diet and feed external foods after 6 months. Make the following changes in your baby’s diet.

Try mixed feeding:

Mixed feeding means feeding breast milk and the baby formula together. You should choose nutrient-rich formula milk for your baby. It should be good enough to improve the child’s immunity. Continue feeding breast milk to provide vital nutrients and keep your child’s body temperature under control.

Fire cleansing foods:

Health experts believe babies have excess gunk buildup around their eyes due to excess heat. Parents should feed foods, which have fire-reducing effects. Your baby’s diet should include foods which promote metabolism, boost immunity, and reduce health issues.

High-quality complementary meals:

Babies need complementary meals to stay healthy after 6 months. Breast milk lacks certain nutrients after this age and the baby’s food demands increase. Mothers should carefully assess each complementary food package and choose a nutrient-rich product for the child. It should also help the baby in detoxification so that eye gunk buildup can reduce.

What is the Right Way of Cleaning the Baby’s Eye Gunk?

Cleaning the baby’s eye gunk is quite simple. Follow the below-explained technique:

Clean your hands:

You have to use a hand sanitizer to clean your hands. Wash your hands with running water to remove excess sanitizer and germs.

Soak a cotton ball:

Prepare tiny cotton balls and soak them in lukewarm water. You can also blend a pinch of salt into lukewarm water and then soak cotton balls.

Wet compress:

Pick a soaked cotton ball and gently press it over eye gunk and the baby’s eyelashes. Do it for a minute and then change the ball.

Wipe the baby’s eyes:

Pick a soft wet towel and use it to wipe the baby’s eyes. Go gentle because tough gunk can be hard to remove. It will require more cotton ball compress to get loose and then you can remove it.

What Precautions to Take While Taking Care of Babies with Eye Gunk?

Take the following precautions while taking care of infants with eye gunk:

Clean the baby’s eyes:

Newborns have narrow lacrimal ducts. If the baby’s tears are flowing out of his eyes, you should use a clean hanky to wipe them. Do not let it dry because it can turn into gunk and it will be tough to wipe out.

Go gentle when cleaning eye gunk of newborn babies:

Newborns have fetal fat around their eyes. It gets cleaned automatically and you should not try to wipe it with force. You should also follow a gentle approach when cleaning eye gunk. Thus, you won’t hurt the baby.

Do not feed OTC medication!

Whether it is eye drop or some other medication, parents should not use it on infants. It can be quite dangerous for your child’s eyes. Try such medications only if the doctor prescribes it after a complete checkup.

Contact the doctor if the baby has eye infection:

If the baby has red eyes and eye gunk, it is a symptom of eye infection. Take your baby to a pediatrician or an eye specialist for a proper treatment.


Some people might find it unappealing when the baby has a lot of eye gunk. Parents do not mind it because they know it is normal. A simple cleaning routine can keep your baby’s eyes clean and healthy. The child does not need medical care until gunk buildup is accompanied by eye infection!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top