Right After Birth
Abnormal tearing and eye discharge are usually caused by the antibiotic drops routinely applied by doctors right after the baby’s birth. Designed to protect the newborn’s eyes from any sexually transmitted germs that might be present in the mother, the drops also have an irritant side effect. This discharge quickly resolves on its own.
Occasional crusting is usually due to the small size of infants’ tear ducts or, more rarely, to an infection [See: Eye Tearing].
In Older Children
Occasional crusting, especially when accompanied by red eyes, is usually caused by an infection. Persistent crusting, however, typically indicates an allergic irritation of the eyes or a predisposition to inflammation. Warm soaks and antibiotic drops prescribed by your doctor will alleviate the condition when it flares up.