How to use you Children's Eye Drops or Ointments

Children’s Services Colchester Hospital

Children’s Ward Tel: 01206 746208 or 746209

Children’s Elective Care Unit Tel: 01206 744237

How to use eye drops

The following is general advice on how to use most eye drops. However, you may be given specific instructions which may vary from the following advice. Ask your pharmacist if you have any queries.

More Information

  • Wash your hands.
  • Take off the top of the bottle/tube.
  • Bend your child’s head backwards and gently pull the lower eyelid down.
  • Hold the dropper /tube above one eye and squeeze one drop/ointment inside the lower eyelid. Try not to touch your eye, eyelashes, or anything else with the dropper tip.
  • With ointment, gently squeeze into the lower eye from centre outwards. Twist tube gently to stop flow when finished.
  • Let go of the eyelid and your child will blink a few times. This will help to spread the ointment over the whole eye surface.
  • If your child’s eye needs cleaning, use tissues, not cotton wool and wash away from the eye with boiled cool water.

Use each tissue only once.

  • Wipe away any liquid/ointment that falls onto your child’s cheek with a tissue.
  • Repeat in the other eye if the drop is prescribed for both eyes.

If you are prescribed more than one treatment, or need to put in another type of drop, wait for a couple of minutes before putting a second drop into the eye. This allows the first drop to ‘settle in’ and not be washed out by a second drop if it is put in too quickly.

Eye-drops are sterile (free from bacteria) before the bottle top is opened. Once it is opened:

  • keep the bottle/tube closed in a cool, dark place (unless otherwise advised) 
  • do not let anyone else use your drops/ ointment, and do not use anyone else’s drops yourself 
  • throw out the bottle/tube (and get a new one if required) after the recommended time. This is usually four weeks after first opening. There is a risk that the drops/ointment may become infected if they are kept and used for longer than advised. (One tip is to write the date that you opened the bottle/tube on the label so you will know when it is time to throw it out.) 
  • your child may be able to taste the eye drops, or a feel that the drops are running down the throat. This is normal as the tear duct which drains tears to your nose will also drain some of the eye drop 
  • some eye drops/ointment sting or irritate for a short while. Rarely, some people are allergic to some eye drops/ ointment. Tell your doctor if eye symptoms become worse after using eye drops/ointment and stop using immediately 
  • keep the drops out of children’s reach.

Important – do not let the tube/ dropper or tube / dropper nozzle touch your child’s eye, your fingers, or any other surface. This is to keep it free from bacteria (bugs).

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