Why Do Babies Rub Their Eyes? - SightMD Skip to main content

April 28, 2024

By: Michelle Liebert, MD

Why Do Babies Rub Their Eyes?

Understanding the Little Ones’ Eye-Rubbing Habit

As a parent, you’ve likely observed your baby rubbing their eyes with those adorable little hands. But have you ever wondered why they do it? In this blog post, we’ll delve into the various reasons behind this common behavior and provide insights to help you understand your baby’s eye health better.

Why Is my Baby Rubbing Their Eyes?

  1. Tiredness: Just like adults, babies get tired too. Eye-rubbing can be a sign that your little one is ready for a nap or bedtime, as they seek to soothe themselves to sleep.
  2. Eye Irritation: Babies’ delicate eyes can easily become irritated by dust, allergens, or even their own hair. Rubbing their eyes may help alleviate discomfort caused by these irritants.
  3. Teething Discomfort: Teething can cause discomfort not only in a baby’s gums but also in their eyes and ears. Eye-rubbing might serve as a distraction from the discomfort associated with teething.
  4. Exploration: Babies are curious beings, using all their senses to explore the world around them. Rubbing their eyes could simply be another way for them to discover their bodies and how they can interact with them.
  5. Mimicking Behavior: Babies learn by imitating those around them. If they see someone else rubbing their eyes, they might mimic the behavior, even without a specific reason to do so.

Should Parents Be Concerned About Eye Rubbing?

Occasional eye-rubbing is typically nothing to worry about and is a normal part of a baby’s development. However, if you notice excessive or persistent eye-rubbing, redness, swelling, discharge, or any other signs of discomfort or eye problems, consult with a pediatrician or eye care professional promptly.

Tips for Soothing Irritated Eyes

  • Keep your baby’s environment clean and free of dust and allergens.
  • Gently clean your baby’s eyes with a damp cloth to remove irritants.
  • Use a humidifier to maintain moisture in the air, particularly during dry weather.
  • Ensure your baby gets adequate rest and sleep to prevent tiredness-induced eye rubbing.

Pediatric Eye Care at SightMD

Understanding why babies rub their eyes can provide valuable insights into their well-being and development. By recognizing the various reasons behind this behavior and taking appropriate steps to address any underlying issues, parents can help ensure their baby’s eye health and comfort. If you have concerns about your baby’s eye-rubbing habits, don’t hesitate to seek guidance and contact us today.