Administering Eye Drops As a Parent Who Is Visually Impaired: My Experience and Preferred Method

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Administering eye drops is quite possibly my least favorite way to medicate my children. However, I always defer to my pediatrician for her recommendation on the best course of treatment for both of my daughters. If eye drops are prescribed, then eye drops they shall have, albeit one way or another.

Methods I Have Used

mother administering eye drop to child seated in chair using lower lid method

I have utilized several methods over the years with my children as noted in my new article, Administering Eye Drops As a Blind or Visually Impaired Parent. Surprisingly, the infant stage was the easiest phase to navigate. The toddler years have proven to be more difficult as my daughters have grown physically stronger and are equally strong willed. My husband and I prefer using the "Leg Work" method (parents relying on their legs to help support their child’s head as they put in their drops) combined with the buddy system (adding an extra set of hands). Usually, one of us restrains, and the other administers the drops.

However, as a New York City Police Detective, my husband’s hours can be unpredictable. There have been many nights where I have tended to my sick children alone with no familial support. I am confident in my ability to administer eye drops with both of my girls and will usually reward them after with a special treat, like an ice-pop. As their mother, I know it’s scary to be restrained and take medicine. However, it must be done. In my experience, an extra dose of kisses and hugs also tends to smooth over any remaining hard feelings.

Lessening the Fear

In an effort to make eye drops less scary for my girls, I often invite them to watch me administer my own. I personally use five different prescription eye medications daily up to seven times per day. This does not include over the counter lubrication drops, which alone I can use upwards of six times per day. That’s a lot of drops for one set of eyes! I am often forced to take a break in the middle of playtime or my professional responsibilities announcing, "Mommy needs to go put in her drops. Anyone want to watch?" Usually, one of my children will follow me into my kitchen to watch me use my medication. I believe seeing their mother use eye drops has made the process less frightening for the girls, especially for my eldest daughter who is almost four years old. It’s become familiar to them, and the idea of them having to use drops is more normalized because they witness me using my medication every single day.

Have a Conversation with Your Children

I would advise all blind or visually impaired parents to have a conversation with their children while they administer their own eye medications. Expose your kids to your eye treatment and explain how whatever medication you are using helps keep your eyes healthy. Give your children the opportunity to ask questions regrading the administration process. This will help them to better cognitively understand why they need eye drops themselves, should your pediatrician recommend that course of treatment.

Check out this new article for more information on administering eye drops as a visually impaired parent.

Blind Parenting

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