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newborn eye goop

  • Eye Ointment at Birth: A Dated Tradition

    It's not news that we practice a lot of unnecessary things in the birth world.  It's also not news that we practice things that flat out don't work.  It seems though that tradition outweighs science until enough of the medical community stand together to make their voices heard.

    It has been common practice for well over 100 years to place an antibiotic ointment in the eyes of the newborn to prevent diseases that may cause blindness as the child grows.  The most common diseases are gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis.

    In the late 1800's, it was silver nitrate that was placed on the newborn's eye lids, and it was very irritating to the baby’s eyes. Years later, the erythromycin antibiotic eye ointment became more commonly used as a treatment because it has fewer side effects to the newborn.  It is placed in the lower lid of the eye by the nurse by two hours of age. Continue reading

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