The Proper Way to Administer Eye Drops to Children

by Maggie McCormick
It's easier to put eye drops in your child's eye if he's lying down.

It's easier to put eye drops in your child's eye if he's lying down.

As something approaches your open eye, your natural reaction is to close to to protect your eye. This makes administering eye drops to children particularly difficult. When your doctor prescribes eye drops, you need to give them to your child on schedule, whether she likes it or not. You may need a firm hand to keep the eye open, but once you get the proper technique down, it will become much easier. Fortunately, the eye heals quickly, so you probably won't have to use the drops for long.

Step 1

Unscrew the cap from the bottle. Leave it resting inside though, to avoid touching any surfaces in your home.

Step 2

Place the drops in a place that's easily accessible to you.

Step 3

Ask your child to lie down near you.

Step 4

Squeeze the eye dropper to place medicine inside. Hold it in your hand, ready to use.

Step 5

Place the pinky side of your hand next to your child's eye, either on the side of the face or along the nose.

Step 6

Use your fingers to hold the eye open. Your thumb can pull down the lower eyelid while your index finger pulls the upper lid up.

Step 7

Place the correct number of drops into your child's eye. Typically, it will be just one drop.

Step 8

Release your hand and ask your child to blink. This spreads the medicine over the entire eye.

Step 9

Repeat for the other eye, if necessary.


  • If your child struggles, you can place the drop in the inside corner of her closed eye and ask her to open and blink her eyes.
  • Give your child the eye medicine before eye ointment if your doctor prescribed both.

About the Author

Maggie McCormick is a freelance writer. She lived in Japan for three years teaching preschool to young children and currently lives in Honolulu with her family. She received a B.A. in women's studies from Wellesley College.

Photo Credits

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