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How to give medicines: eye drops and eye ointment

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How to give medicines: eye drops and eye ointment

This leaflet gives tips about how to give eye drops and eye ointment to children.

This leaflet has been written specifically for parents and carers about the use of medicines in children. Please read this leaflet carefully. Keep it somewhere safe so that you can read it again.

Eye drops and eye ointment

Medicines for the eye are available as eye drops or as eye ointment. 

Before you give eye drops or eye ointment

  • Use the eye drops or eye ointment only in the infected eye, unless your doctor has told you to treat both eyes.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and hot water before and after giving the drops or ointment. 
  • The drops or ointment are easiest to give when your child is lying down.

How to give eye drops

  • You may need help from another adult to help give eye drops, especially in small children and babies. One of you can hold the child still and one can give the drops. You may find it helpful to wrap a small child or baby in a blanket to help keep them still.
  • For older children, gently pull the lower lid out and squeeze the bottle gently so that one drop goes into the pocket that is formed. 
  • In small children and babies, place the drop into the inner corner of the eye. This is easier with the eye open, but the liquid will still drain on to the eye even with a closed eye if you can hold your child’s head still for a few seconds.

Eye drops in small child

  • After giving eye drops, your child should keep their eye closed for as long as they can (5 seconds if possible) so that the eye drop doesn’t spill out.
  • If you think the drop didn’t go into the eye, you can repeat the process but do not try more than twice.
  • Try to avoid the tip of the tube touching any part of your child’s eye, if possible.
  • Wash your hands again with soap and hot water.

How to give eye ointment

  • For older children, gently pull the lower lid out and down and squeeze the tube gently so that a small amount (approximately 1 cm) goes into the pocket that is formed. 
  • In small children and babies, place the ointment into the inner corner of the eye, preferably with the eye open.

Eye ointment in small child

 

 

 

  • After giving the ointment, your child should blink several times to help dissolve the ointment.
  • If you think the ointment didn’t go into the eye, you can repeat the process but do not try more than twice.
  • Try to avoid the tip of the tube touching any part of your child’s eye, if possible. 
  • Wash your hands again with soap and hot water.
Publication date: 
09/09/2011

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