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Right after Birth – Eye Care

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that all newborns receive eye drops or ointment to prevent infections they can get during delivery. Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) including gonorrhea and chlamydia are a main cause of newborn eye infections. These infections can cause blindness when left untreated. Silver nitrate, erythromycin, and tetracycline are the three medicines used in newborns’ eyes. These medicines can sting and/or blur the baby’s vision. So you may want to postpone this treatment for a little while. Some parents question whether this treatment is really necessary. Many women at low risk for STDs do not want their newborns to receive eye medicine. But there is no evidence to suggest that this medicine harms the baby. It is important to note that even pregnant women who test negative for STDs may get an infection by the time of delivery. Plus, most women with gonorrhea and/or chlamydia don’t know it because they have no symptoms.

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