Eye Medicines :: Nationwide Children's Hospital

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Eye Medicines

Your doctor has ordered eye medicine for your child. Before you give the medicine, explain to your child what you are going to do. Tell him or her that the medicine may tingle a little or feel cold in the eye. Have someone help you if your child cannot hold still.

What to Do

Picture 1: Using eye drops
Picture 1: Using Eye Drops
  1. Wash your hands. Read the label on the medicine bottle to be sure you are giving the right medicine.
  2. Gently shake the medicine bottle if eye drops are being given. Have your child tilt his head back and look up, or lie down on his back and look up.
  3. If there is any drainage on your child’s eye, gently wipe the eye from inner eye outward with a clean tissue. (Be sure to use a clean tissue with each wipe.)
  4. Place your index finger on the child's lower eyelid and gently pull downward to open the lid (Picture 1)
    Picture 2: Using ointment
    Picture 2: Using ointment
  5. For Drops: Gently squeeze the bottle and place one drop into the inside of the lower lid. Do not let the medicine run into the other eye. Do not touch the eye or eyelid with the tip of the bottle. If more than one drop is prescribed, wait 5 to 10 minutes between giving drops.
  6. For Ointment: A few minutes before applying, place the tube in your pants pocket or hold it in your hand to warm slightly. Squeeze a small amount of ointment (1/4 to 1/2 inch) from the tube along the inside of the lower lid. Start at the part of the lid closest to the nose. Do not touch the eye or lower eyelid with the tube.
  7. Have your child gently close his eye and keep it closed for 15 seconds. (You and he can count slowly to 15.)
  8. Repeat in the other eye if ordered by the child’s doctor.
  9. Wipe the extra medicine from the child’s face.
  10. Wash your hands.


Never use any medicine to treat a child's eyes without a doctor's prescription. Only use medicine on the child for whom it was ordered.

When the medicine is no longer needed, mix the leftover medicine with an unwanted material, like coffee grounds or kitty litter, and place the mixture into a container or a bag that will not leak. Throw the container away in the trash where children and pets cannot reach it. (Do not flush the medicine down the toilet or sink.)

Eye medicines need to be handled carefully. Always place the cap back on the bottle right after use. Never let the tip of the bottle touch anything, especially your fingers.

If you have any questions, be sure to ask your child’s doctor, pharmacist or nurse.

Eye Medicines (PDF)

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