Baby Got A Black Eye
December 10, 2008 4:27 PM   Subscribe

My 8 week old baby is starting to develop a swollen lower right eye-lid. It is starting to look like a black eye. The opthamologist thinks it is a developmental cyst, and told us just to keep an eye on it. Today, it is starting to cause her eye to close slightly. My wife is in tears. Anyone have an opinion on what is going on here, what the options are for a 2 month old, and also, what will make us not freak out.
posted by jasondigitized to Health & Fitness (12 answers total)
Were you referred to the ophthalmologist by the pediatrician? Is there a children's health center near you that you could schedule an appointment with? Is your insurance HMO or PPO?
I don't know what it is.. all I can offer is to get a second opinion from a pediatric specialist.. and to offer my best wishes that it clears up soon.

We have Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.. and our daughter had an issue at that age. The pediatrician was zero help.. so I took her to the urgent care and they referred me off to a specialist and the channels went through much faster that way than the regular pediatrician way.
posted by czechmate at 4:46 PM on December 10, 2008

My son is 2 1/2 weeks old, every question I've asked our pediatrician or nurse has gotten the same basic response 'newborns have all sorts of quirks that work themselves out'.

Me: "Hey doc, my kid only opens one eye at a time, does he think he's a pirate?"
Doc: "Maybe he actually is a pirate, either way don't worry about it"

Me: "My kids feet are as big as his shins..."
Doc: "Yep"

Me: "The kid has a rash"
Doc: "They do that."

Me: "My talented son managed to get poop everywhere from his ankles to his neck while wearing a diaper, wtf?"
Doc: "For your sake, hopefully that doesn't happen more than once a day"

If the doctor says it isn't a big deal, it probably isn't a big deal.
posted by foodgeek at 4:47 PM on December 10, 2008 [9 favorites]

I have no idea what might be wrong with your baby's eye and the following is parental advice only.

Have you called the eye doctor back and reported the latest development? If you're really worried, take her to the emergency room of the best hospital in town and have it looked at. It's her eye .... and it sounds like it's changing by the day. I'd be worried too, and having a second opinion by the opthamologist on call at the hospital would be worth a lot to me. I'm a big believer in going with your gut.

Our son has a rather serious problem, and for months I kept telling our pediatrician that something wasn't right. Finally I took him to another doctor and sure enough, I was right and he was arrogant, dismissive and wrong.

Call your pediatrician now and ask his/her advice on whether your daughter needs to be seen tonight. If not tonight, have her seen again tomorrow morning. Seems to me if her condition is changing so fast, that it's not exactly "developmental". Always listen to your gut and be a squeaky wheel on her behalf.

Wishing you all the best.
posted by Kangaroo at 4:57 PM on December 10, 2008 [2 favorites]

Daughter the Second (who is 25 years older than your son) developed something similar last year. Her eyelid would swell up until it looked like she'd been punched. It was uncomfortable for her.

Visits to MD, opthamologist, and an 'eyelid specialist' yielded little. X-rays, CT scans, blood tests provided no help. None of the docs have the first clue as to the cause.

It was generally worse in the mornings but not exclusively. She took several rounds of oral cortisone that helped temporarily.

Her own treatment plan includes antihistamines and heat, which seems to be working as well as anything else.
posted by trinity8-director at 5:00 PM on December 10, 2008

You may want to ask your eye-doctor about chalazions (chalazia) and styes. I've had a few of the former. It was definitely uncomfortable: you can feel the swollen eyelid pressing on your eyeball. Warm compresses on the eyelid help (and often cause the cyst to subside entirely); if those don't work, there are medications and surgical options that may help. This may not be what your kid has, of course, but it's something that's worth ruling out.

It's definitely worth it to ask the doctor, for your baby's comfort and your own peace of mind.
posted by ubersturm at 5:20 PM on December 10, 2008

If the doctor says it isn't a big deal, it probably isn't a big deal.

Doctors make mistakes, they are human after all. I don't want to freak out the OP but a pediatric ophthalmologist gave us bad advice about out then 5 year old that would have led to him being blind in one eye today had we not got a 2nd opinion. The advice was "not to worry about it."

Odds are it is nothing, but it can't hurt to get a second opinion from your pediatrician.
posted by COD at 6:09 PM on December 10, 2008

Addendum - my son's symptoms were not at all related to something that looks like a black eye. He had actual vision problems in one eye.
posted by COD at 6:12 PM on December 10, 2008

Hey there -- my husband is a pediatric ophthalmologist. I'm MeMailing you.
posted by mothershock at 6:43 PM on December 10, 2008 [3 favorites]

My son, who is now five, has a history of styes going back to infancy. He still gets them several times a year.

It's basically an infection of the ducts in his eyelids. Sometimes it's an upper lid, sometimes a lower. It usually starts out a little bit red and progresses to swollen and bruised looking in a day or two. We hit hold a warm compress on it every few hours as time permits, and over the course of a few more days it comes to a head like a big pimple. It'll rupture, scab over and be gone in a few more days.

It looks and sounds more painful than it really is. It doesn't really bother him at all.

We've seen various doctors and ophthalmologists on a half dozen occasions an it's been reinforced that it's nothing really to worry about, and to continue to treat it the way we have been. We've also started using disposable eye wipes (oCuSoft) to clean his eyelids at bed time as precaution even when he doesn't have a stye. He still sucks his thumb in bed, and he curls his index finger up into his eye, so we also try to keep his nails short and his hands clean.

It's also been suggested the development might be allergy related, either through drying out his tears ducts or through rubbing his irritated eyes.

A stye can look really ugly before it goes away, but it's not really a big issue other than warm compresses and keeping it clean. If you've got a doctor on the case, and he says don't worry about it, I'd try not to worry about it. If it does get worse the get a second opinion for your piece of mind. A stye will look pretty ugly before it goes away, but it's not really a big issue other than warm compresses and keeping it clean.

Good luck, and I certainly hope you don't become as familiar with styes as we've become in the last five years.
posted by Barnsie at 6:58 PM on December 10, 2008

Just to toss this out there, mostly to Barnsie, my sister and I both regularly got styes. It still occasionally happens, and they are very unpleasant. The trick our mother taught us is to make some tea using a bag, then, after the tea bag has cooled a bit, put that on the eyelid, rather than just a warm compress. The tea acts as an astringent, and draws out most of the bad stuff, without really ever coming to a head, or involving scabbing or other unpleasantness. Give it a try.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:51 PM on December 10, 2008 [1 favorite]

I babysat for a kid with the swollen black eye thing. I was alarmed when I first saw it but the parents reassured me that their dr. had reassured them that it was normal and fine and would go away.
The only bad thing that came of it was when people would give me suspicious looks when I took him out in the stroller. I wanted a sign that said "Not a Baby Abuser!"
But really, it worked itself out after 2 months. I wouldn't worry about it unless the dr. told you to.
posted by rmless at 8:45 PM on December 10, 2008

When my sister and I were babies we both had issues with blocked tear ducts which caused the swelling you describe. This is apparantly really common. In our case, they got infected which meant we had to go into hospital to get them fixed.

The whole thing was pretty simple and routine, I wouldn't even be aware it had happened, except that the dye they used to test if our system was working again briefly turned our pee bright blue. So now every time there's a diaper commercial on TV using that blue liquid my parents are all "Hey, this one time - when you were a baby..."
posted by the latin mouse at 1:39 AM on December 11, 2008

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