By Jennifer Slaybaugh
Eye drops are commonly required to help lower and maintain a safe level of intraocular pressure. Depending on your child’s case, an ophthalmologist may prescribe one, or several different types of, eye drops for use once or numerous times a day.
Giving eye drops to a child can be intimidating for some people. I know for me it was! Trying to get upwards of four drops in a three-day-old infant’s eyes five times a day was nerve-wracking. After all, it is essential to do it right.
The use of drops is something that is lowering the pressure and helping to retain the vision. Remove
Here are some important tips for successfully giving eye drops to a child
- Wash your hands with soap and water and fully dry your hands with a clean towel.
- Have your child lay down and stand or sit behind them, with their head close to you. This allows you to reach them better.
- Ensure the eye drop is mixed and remove the cap, placing the cap in a safe/clean area. This way you do not introduce bacteria to the cap.
- Use one hand to gently hold the child’s forehead in place and use your thumb to lift the eyelid.
- Using your other hand, hold the bottle above the child’s eye. You can use a finger on the chin or cheek to steady your hand.
- Gently squeeze the bottle to administer the prescribed number of drops, without touching the bottle to the eye. Aim the drop into the opening between the lower portion of the eye and the lid.
- Very gently, press on the inside corner of the eye where the eye and nose meet. Hold this for one minute, or as long as the child will allow. This keeps the medication from draining through the tear duct and ensuring the eye gets the medication.
- Encourage the child not to blink more than normal and you can gently dab any tears or drops away.
- Wash your hands and dry again after administering drops.
If your child requires more than one drop during a time of day (ex: 3 drops needed in the AM) make sure to space them out at least five minutes in between. This helps the body absorb the medication without the next drop washing it away. Every drop has a purpose to help reduce the pressure or stabilize the eye.
While we focus so much time and attention on our child’s eyes, they are so much more and have so much more going on.
For young children it can be very difficult to get them to lay still or allow you to put the drops in. This is a typical challenge of the developmental age.
Be creative! Use the things your child likes to encourage and reward him/her for helping in the process.
As my son learned to roll, drop time became a very challenging process. We now give him kisses on his face, tickle his belly, play with his toys, sing songs and talk to him to encourage him to lay while the drops soak in. Sometimes it still takes two of us to give the drops.
For older children, they may be able to help in the process of administering the drops, or even do it independently. If your child is administering his/her own drops, monitoring is important to ensure the child/adolescent is doing this correctly and getting the medication into the eye.
Especially with adolescents, drops may be something they avoid or resent, because it sets them apart from their peers. Please speak with your child’s doctor about whether self-administering is a good fit for your child.
You know your children best, so keep their interests in mind along with their developmental needs and challenges and you will find some tricks to keep up your sleeve for those days when drops are a chore.
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