6.4.1 What are the signs of eye infection in newborns?
If a mother has the bacteria in her genital tract that cause sexually transmitted infections (particularly chlamydia or gonorrhoea), the germs can get into the baby’s eyes during delivery and may cause blindness. Look for swelling of the eyelids, redness of the inside part of the eye, or discharge from the eye. You can give prophylaxis (preventive treatment) immediately the baby is born by using tetracycline or another approved eye ointment, as shown in Figure 6.4. But if the newborn develops an eye infection in the postnatal period, you should refer him or her to the hospital or health centre for specialised assessment and treatment.