Top tips for administering children's eye drops

Top tips for administering children's eyedrops


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Before putting eye drops in clean your hands. Always be careful not to touch the dropper on the eye or surrounding skin to avoid hurting the eye or contaminating the drops, and don't worry if the occasional drop is missed.


Older Children

For older children get your child to sit in a comfortable chair with the head tilted backwards, chin upwards towards the ceiling. Ask them to open their eyes and look up towards their eyebrows. Gently pull out the lower lid and put the drop into the pocket between the lower lid and the eye.

If this is difficult you can also ask them to close their eyes gently and place the drop on the skin in the corner of the eyelids your child can then open their eye or you can gently open their lids using your index finger and thumb and the drops will roll into the eye. This is best done with your child lying flat.

Wherever you can, older children needing long-term drops should be encouraged to learn to put their own drops in.

With clean hands they should hold the bottle of drops in one hand. With the other hand they should pull down the lower lid gently whilst looking back up towards the brows and leaning their head right back to look up at the ceiling.

They can rest one hand on the other to steady them and squeeze the drop into the eye. It may take a little practice to get it in just the right spot.


Babies and young children

Babies and young children often don't understand why they need drops and can wriggle and close their eyes. Often you will need to use some techniques to keep them still. As long as this is done quickly you will get the drops in safely with as little upset as possible.

Ideally get another adult to help. Get your child to lay down or lie back in someone's arms if very young. Sometimes swaddling them in a blanket can help keep the arms and legs out of the way. Allow your child to close their eyes and you can then use one of two techniques.

Firstly you can open the upper and lower lids gently using thumb and index finger and put a drop into the eye.

If this is difficult, if you can get them lying flat put a couple of drops on the skin by the inside corner of the eye then, depending on age, either ask them to blink several times to allow the drops to run into the eye or gently part the lids to allow the drops to flow in.

If you're alone there are ways to allow you to instil the drops. Sit on the floor with legs straight out in front of you and slightly apart. Lay your child between your legs so that the head is kept still between your thighs and their arms are tucked under your knees. This allows you two free hands to get the drops in quickly and there is no chance of your child hurting themselves.


Punctual occlusion

For any age you can do punctual occlusion to avoid too much of the medication going down the nose and reduce the chance of any side effects immediately after installing the drops. place your index finger firmly over the inner corner of the lids for five to ten seconds.


Using these techniques you should be able to get drops into your child's eye, no matter what their age, safely and quickly.


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Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust,