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Can we decline newborn eye treatment?
Q: Do I have to let the doctor put something in my baby's eyes right after delivery? We've heard that it looks like it may be uncomfortable, and my husband and I don't want our baby to experience anything like that when we're first welcoming him into the world. Can it wait till they do the other newborn tests?
A: Several infections can be passed on to the baby during childbirth that can cause serious eye damage if unrecognized. To prevent this from occurring, nearly all pediatricians recommend placing erythromycin ointment in the baby's eyes after delivery. The ointment should not be confused with an older treatment, which caused the baby to have red, irritated eyes. You can speak with the pediatrician before delivery if you have questions. Honestly, there is no good reason to avoid the newer treatment.
Craig L. Bissinger M.D.