Cleaning a Child’s Eye
- Wash your hands thoroughly before and in between cleaning the eyes.
- Use clean water (drinking water) to soak a clean piece of cloth in.
- Wipe the closed eyelid from the inner corner outwards.
- Once the above steps are complete, in an older child, clean water in a small container could be used to flush a slightly open eye. (Especially useful if a small foreign body, mild chemical contamination or ocular allergy is the diagnosis).
Expect some resistance and struggle while instilling the drops.
- All eye drops cause a mild stinging feeling and temporary blurred vision upon instilling.
- In addition, dilating drops used in a clinic cause blurred vision.
Preparation for the drops
- The last resort should be to hold the child down, force open the eyes and force the drop in, as the crying and the squeezing will wash the drop out.
- If the child is old enough, explaining the benefits of the drops will definitely help.
- Try to make it as fun as possible, even a game in a younger child.
- Have a practice run with a dropper and a few drops of water.
Instilling the drop
- Wash your hands with soap and water.
- Do not let the tip of the bottle touch anything.
- Tilt the head slightly back.
- The drop can be instilled into the space created by pulling the lower lid down.
- Ask the child to blink gently a few times and keep the eye closed for a few minutes.
- Wipe only the excess medication that flows out of the eye.
- The child could lie down with the eyes closed.
- Place the drop in the depression between the lids and the bridge of the nose.
- Slightly lift the upper lid and the drop will slide into the space between the lids.
- This is good way to get the drop into a child’s eye while they are asleep, as there will be no crying to wash the tears away and can be much less traumatic too.
- One drop is all that is needed.
- If more than one type of drop is required, wait about 5-10 minutes between the drops.
- Ointments can be squeezed inside the lower lid. Use a drop first, if used with an ointment.
- If a wrong drop is instilled, wash and flush the eye immediately and then contact your clinic.
- Check the expiry date and storing instructions.
- Toys (sharp or projectile in nature)
- Household objects (pens, pencils, tools, cords)
- The child's own finger
- A fall
- Sports: contact sports, racquet sports, high velocity ball sports
- Fireworks: Children should not use ANY kind of fireworks (explosive or sparkling).
Protective eye wear is available for most sports. A sport’s frame and polycarbonate lenses would be the most common combination.
If a significant sharp trauma is suspected, the eye needs to be closed with a sterile eye pad and referred immediately for further management.
Chemicals can range from perfumes, cleaning liquids etc., which are present in most households.
The most important first step is to IMMEDIATELY and thoroughly (continuously at least for 10-15 minutes) wash the eye with any available source of water, to minimize the contact time the chemical has with the surface of the eye. The appropriate referral can be done after the washing.
Most household chemicals will, at most, cause chemical conjunctivitis without long term complications, which will be treated with drops to reduce the inflammation. More serious acid or alkaline contamination can cause considerable ocular damage and long term complications.