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My 89 year old mother, who has Vascular Dementia and possibly Frontotemporal dementia, as well, has very dry, irritated eyes. The optometrist has instructed us to put special drops in her eyes twice a day. Even when I try to get her lying down in bed, she squeezes her eyes tight shut, making it very hard to instill even a single drop. To make matters worse, I'm losing hand strength. I can't squeeze the bottle AND hold her lower lid open. Any suggestions? Has anyone else been through this?

I'm a terrible aim with my own eye drops. I find what works best is--with head back, or lying down--to squeeze a drop into the corner and then gently lift the UPPER lid a bit.
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Reply to Hummer
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Also - what's the humidity like in your mother's rooms? Are her eyes dry because she isn't producing tears for some reason, or might you be able to alter something in her environment to help?
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Reply to Countrymouse
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Anjolie Nov 23, 2018
She's had dry eyes for decades, but they've gotten much worse this year as heating season arrived. The drops are for dry eyes and allergies, so I imagine it's a matter of making Mom more comfortable.
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My best suggestion is that you ask someone first to show you, then to supervise you doing it.

Next question: who?! Umm... go back to your optometrist's office, explain the problem, and ask if they know of anyone. If they don't, then you want to track down a nurse with experience of this kind of care, perhaps through your GP/PCP or your nearest hospital with an eye department.

It quite annoys me when health care practitioners airily give you instructions without a thought of how exactly you're supposed to comply with them.

I had to do this job after my mother's cataract surgery. She too was an "eyes tight shut" person but even I, never slow to criticise her, couldn't blame her for that - it's a straightforward reflex, and it actually takes considerable willpower to relax your eyelids when anyone or anything comes close to them.

So I'm afraid it came down to brute force, because the mistake is to be too tentative. But there is a right way to do it: you place your thumb and forefinger carefully on your mother's closed eyelids, as close to the lashes as you can, and rest the side of the same hand over her temple/forehead to keep her head still against the pillow. Let the weight fall on the side of your hand, not on your fingers. Then very firmly but NOT pressing your fingers *down*, lever the lids apart and pop those drops in like lightning. Gently hold the lids shut for a few seconds, wipe away excess with a clean soft tissue, stroke mother's hair soothingly.

If the bottle isn't squeezy enough, ask your pharmacist to dispense the same drops in a bottle with a soft pipette in its top.

If your hands really aren't strong enough for the operation, perhaps consider contacting an agency to see if they have visiting nurses who will get the ball rolling for you until your mother is used to the routine and able to co-operate better.
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Reply to Countrymouse
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I stand up and look into the mirror, pull my lower lid out to make a pocket and put the drops in there. Then lean my head back to help them distribute. Maybe that approach would help. Maybe she could do it herself since it’s not scary? If it’s the prescription restasis drops, they burned a little when I used them, so maybe they hurt. I have better luck with just OTC systane ultra single use. The nighttime ointment may help as well, and you could just try placing a line of that inside her lash line if you can’t get any inside her eye.
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Reply to rocketjcat
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If she is lying down, just put the drop in the corner of her eye near her nose, then let her blink a few times. I cannot bear to see drops falling into my eyes, I screw mine up tight too. But if I do as I suggested above, I get the benefit of my lubricating eye drops.
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