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All You Need to Know about Newborn Eyes Rolling Back

by | Newborn

The human baby is truly somewhat of a nature’s mystery. At the start, you don’t know what you can do to keep your baby peaceful and happy. As the time passes, you start getting to know him. You start to notice certain patterns of his behavior, which alter daily or several times a day. One moment your baby is energetic, happy, and playful, while in the next, they are just irritating, tired, and even sloth. Before we get to the actual topic, we must understand these behavior changes. All these changes can be explained by a concept called ‘The State of Consciousness.

 What are the Different States of Consciousness?

States of Consciousness are the mental states your baby goes through several times a day. There are a total of six different states of consciousness, which are briefed in the following table:

State Name of the State Actions/Behavior of the Baby During that State
1 Deep Sleep State Sleeps without making any response
2 Light Sleep State They are in a weak sleep.
3 Drowsiness State Is in a state of dozing (Eyes start to close)
4 Quick Alert State The baby is in a state of alert without any body movement
5 Active Alert State The Mind and body are active
6 Crying State The baby Cries and Screams without any apparent reason

Drowsiness State is Associated with the Rolling of Eyes:

The above is the whole cycle of different states through which the baby goes during different times of the day. The rolling of the eyes occurs primarily in the 3rd state, i.e., The Drowsiness State. The baby enters this state when it is either about to go to sleep or wake up from sleep. The state is associated with yawning, drooping eyelids, jerking and stretching their limbs.

Why this Rolling of Eyes Happens?

 There are many reasons for your newborn eyes rolling back. The reasons may be physiological and pathological. It is very important to differentiate the two because you should immediately consult your pediatrician if it’s due to a pathological condition.

  • Physiological Reasons for Eye Rolling:

When you’re a new parent and notice your lovely newborn eyes rolling back, it’s natural that you’ll be worried. But rest assured, your baby isn’t the only one doing so. Most babies do this, and the reason behind this rolling is thought to be mainly developmental. As the baby is born, the various organs of its body are still developing, including the eyes. The rolling especially occurs because the ocular muscles which control the movement of the eyes are not yet fully developed. Some physicians consider this rolling a developmental step and even use it to access the developmental stage in which the baby is currently in. In addition, the rolling may occur because the eyes are still adjusting to the various external environmental agents. Sometimes, the baby may roll its eyes even during breastfeeding and nursing sessions.

  • Pathological Reasons for Eye Rolling:

Most of the time, there is no reason to be worried, and the baby stops the eye-rolling as the growth and development proceeds. However, if a ten-month-old baby shows prolonged and frequent seizure-like eye rolling movements, it may be due to various pathological conditions with or without neurological manifestations.

The basic problem can lie in the visual part of the brain, which is causing the ocular muscles to behave this way. The various reasons may include developmental abnormalities, trauma, neurological disorders, and visual disorders.

The abnormal condition may also lie outside the brain without neurological problems, e.g., hypoglycemia, fever, etc. To differentiate between the two, you should look for various symptoms your child is showing while rolling its eyes.

Symptoms Indicating Abnormal Eye Rolling:

If your baby shows the below-mentioned symptoms during eye-rolling, your newborn is likely suffering from an abnormal condition.

  1. Shivering.
  2. Frequent and prolonged crying.
  3. Irregular breathing.
  4. Stiffening of arms and legs.
  5. Convulsions.

 When to consult a Physician?

You should immediately consult your pediatrician if you observe any of the symptoms mentioned earlier. If he suspects that the condition is neurological, which is the case for most of these conditions, he may refer you to a neurologist. Early diagnosis may result in better and more efficient treatment of the underlying cause before the condition worsens.

When Do Babies’ Eyes Stop Rolling Back?

Interestingly, the newborn eyes roll back in its head while it is eating, breastfeeding, or even sleeping. Most parents get worried about it, but it’s normal for a specific period. The babies’ eyes stop rolling back to their heads when they have grown up to 4-6 months old. On noticing the rapid eye movements in your kid after six months, go straight to the pediatrician! About half a year after the birth, your newborn’s eyes should be straightened out and not roll anymore. If, still, you are seeing newborns eyes rolling back or wandering about, it might be a case of strabismus. It occurs either due to the weakening of eye muscles that control the eye or any nerve damage. Meanwhile, strabismus is a medical disorder that makes the eyes unable to look at the same fixed point simultaneously.

Is it Normal for a Newborn to Have Rapid Eye Movement?

Rapid eye movements mostly occur when the baby is sleeping. They are normal because newborns don’t have fully developed eye muscles and vessels. The underdevelopment of vessels is why your premature baby can’t have the perfect, top-notch vision. Some parents start worrying about random jerky movements, however there is nothing to worry about as they are only temporary ones. Your baby will have fully coordinated, straightened eye movements when it is six months old.

If you notice more than usual random movements and twitching, you can consider going to your pediatrician! It can be a case of nystagmus. In nystagmus, the parents can notice an unbalanced vision, more blurriness, and slow but side-to-side movements in their kids’ eyes. It is mostly due to injuries to the optic nerve, retina problems, or cataracts.

Can Eye-rolling be a Seizure?

Let’s first understand what a seizure is. Our brain is untiringly working and generating hundreds of electrical signals every second. The nerve cells in the brain are responsible for this vigorous activity to maintain connections between brain and body cells. Any interruption in these normal pathways due to the formation of abnormal electric signals results in a seizure. It leads to the incompetency of the brain as a control center by breaking its connections with our body. As a result of the seizure, many symptoms occur, one of which is rolling back of the eyes. However, newborn eyes rolling back is not always due to seizures. If your baby is 2-3 weeks old, and you notice some rapid eye movements or rolling eyes, they are quite normal.

Baby Eyes Rolling Back When Eating:

It is spread like wildfire on the internet that if your baby rolls its eyes back while eating, it is hungry. Babies are interesting to watch and examine. Most parents have witnessed newborns eyes rolling back during breastfeeding, got them tested, and declared it an everyday habit. Also, when your newborn rolls its eyes back along with lowering its eyelids, it is a cute sight to watch. It seems like your baby has loved the food or milk you provided. A feeling of cheerfulness for everyone involved!

Newborn Eye rolling and smiling:

Have you ever seen your preemie smiling while sleeping? You must have wondered if it is any reflex or seizure, right? Well, don’t worry about it as it is super normal for newborn kids. In 80% of the cases, these active and rapid movements are because your baby is catching sight of a beautiful dream. You may see eye rolling movements and convulsing movements of muscles under the eyelids of your newborn very often. If you aren’t satisfied by researching online, you have the right to head straight to the doctor and show him the picture of your baby smiling while sleeping. Get a more reliable opinion!

Are Premature Babies at More Risk for Eye Issues?

 Preemies are more prone to eye issues due to incomplete vascular system development. Generally, premature babies have more health issues and need a lot more cautiousness from their caretakers. When it comes to the eyes, specifically, the bloodstream of the retina doesn’t get enough time to mature after birth. So, it brings more risks of increasing eye and perception problems. If you neglect your newborn’s eye and leave it unprocessed, it can cause the retina to loosen. A detachment of the retina like this can lead to weak eyesight or blurred vision.

Conclusion:

Newborns eye rolling back are of no issue until they are six months old. However, at the same time, rolling back of the eyes in the head is a symptom of several eye disorders, including cataracts, nystagmus, and seizures. So, you must consult a professional in case of noticing unusual movements of the baby’s eyes to avoid any further disruptions.

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