Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The secret to instilling eyedrops in a toddler

Patients tell me quite frequently that they are 'scared' of eyedrops. Perhaps they were traumatized when younger by a huge eyedrop bottle lunging towards their eye. Now they may have that wonderful blink reflex that doesn't allow anything to come near their precious eyes!

I found out the secret to instilling eyedrops when I had to give my own 2-year old daughter eyedrops:

First, always wash your hands whenever you touch anyone's eyes. Then, get a treat (we use chocolate-covered raisins) and a tissue. Lay the child down flat on their back (on either a changing table or a bed). Hold the treat up and let them know they will get the treat if they stay nice and still. Then, calmly pull down on their lower eyelid and quickly place a drop right into the lower eyelid area (the pink area). Try not to touch the dropper tip to the eye, or it may contaminate the bottle. Immediately give them the treat to distract them and reward them. They should not cry, or this will wash out the eyedrop and you must do it again. They may keep their eye closed and you can then blot it with the tissue. Always give positive reinforcement after the eyedrop and praise them for being so good.

My daughter now loves getting eyedrops and she has even started to help by pulling down on her eyelids when I need to put the eyedrop in.

It is very important that children develop positive associations with eyedrops so that they will not be scared of them in the future.

Proven once again: chocolate is the answer to any problem!!

PS - adults can benefit from this treat reward system as well! It is easy to instill eyedrops - just lean your head back, pull down on your lower lid, and place a drop in the lower eyelid. Do not touch the dropper tip to the eye, and if you miss, just try again! You'll love that chocolate reward...

1 comment:

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