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Eye Prophylaxis Resources from UPMC in Central Pa.

Eye prophylaxis is given to newborns to prevent eye infections through sexually transmitted diseases.

After birth, your baby's nurse will place medicated eye ointment in your baby's eyes to prevent potential infection or blindness from gonorrhea and chlamydia infections.

A Prevention Measure

Physicians began providing eye prophylaxis during a time when thousands of infants suffered permanent blindness as a result of severe eye infection due to gonorrhea acquired from their mothers. In more recent years, eye infection due to gonorrhea has decreased, while eye infection due to chlamydia has become more common.

Although your baby may protest to having his or her eyes held open as the medication is put in, the medication itself does not typically cause any pain. After treatment, your baby's eyes may be red, swollen or appear cloudy. It is very important that you do not wash or clean the medication out of your baby's eyes.

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