What is eyedrops?

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Using eyedrops or eye ointment: Overview

Many eye problems are treated with eyedrops or eye ointments, and sometimes with both.

Even though drops and ointments are widely used, many people don't know the best way to put them in. But with a little preparation, you can comfortably and easily put drops or ointment in your eyes.

  • Eyedrops and eye ointments can deliver medicine directly to your eyes, keep your eyes moist, and help with redness, itching, and watering.
  • It's important to be sure the dropper or tube is clean. Do not let it touch the eye, eyelid, lashes, or any surface. This will keep it free from bacteria.
  • Do not use more drops or ointment than directed.

How to give your child eyedrops

  • If your child needs both eyedrops and eye ointment, put the eyedrops in at least 10 minutes before the ointment.
  • If your child has an eye infection, don't let your child wear contact lenses while using the eyedrops, unless your doctor has told you it's okay.

Many eye problems are treated with eyedrops. Here's how to use them.

  1. Make sure you have the correct eyedrops.

    Don't use anyone else's drops. If your doctor prescribed one type of eyedrop to treat one problem, don't use the same medicine to treat a different problem.

  2. Read the directions.

    Use the drops exactly as directed. Make sure you understand the directions. Don't use the drops longer or in larger amounts than your doctor tells you to. This can hurt your child's eyes.

  3. Wash your hands well.

    Always do this before you insert the drops. If you have disposable medical gloves, wear them when you put eyedrops into your child's eyes.

  4. Check the eye dropper.

    Be sure the dropper is clean. Don't let it touch any surface. Eyedrops that get bacteria in them can easily spread the bacteria to the eye and cause an infection.

  5. Have your child lie down with their eyes shut.
  6. Put in the eyedrops.
    • Place an eyedrop in the inner corner of your child's closed eye. When the eye opens, the drop will run in.
    • If you are putting more than 1 drop in your child's eye, wait at least 5 minutes between eyedrops. This helps prevent flushing away or diluting the first drop.
    • Don't let the dropper touch the eye, eyelid, or lashes. If the dropper is separate from the bottle and this happens, don't put the dropper back in the bottle. Buy a new dropper at a drugstore.
  7. Wash your hands.

    Wash them even if you wore gloves.

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The content above contains general health information provided by Healthwise, Incorporated, and reviewed by its medical experts. This content should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Not all treatments or services described are offered as services by us. For recommended treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.