Just as the words “Don’t touch your eyes!” come out of my mouth there’s usually someone rubbing themselves with sunscreen. It’s summer, I’m a sunscreen fanatic and I’m pretty sure that what I say, and what the kids want to do are two opposite things most of the time.
A couple of weeks ago, Olivia came home from her friends with puffy, red-eyes from a kid-applied sunscreen gone wrong and of course, I immediately googled “What to do when your kid has sunscreen in their eyes” while trying to keep her hands from rubbing.
First we washed her hands. Next, after a lot of whining there was some Mean mom action trying to make Olivia cry so the tears might help to alleviate and naturally wash out some of that sunscreen. It didn’t work that well, since she was just angry. I gave her a cool cloth so she would stop rubbing and finally tossing Olivia in the shower and ruined her life by trying to wash her eyes out with the shower.
“STOP MAKING THE WATER FOLLOW ME!”
Unimpressed with the fact that we were taking a break from her important social calendar,
It’s inevitable though, the sunscreen in the eye during the summer months, so I contacted Dr. Champion at Lendrum Eyecare to share just what you should do when the inevitable happens to you.
Dr. Bob Champion is a father of a 5-year old boy and a 3-year old girl and is an optometrist at Lendrum Eyecare on the Southside of Edmonton and Doctors EyeCare in Sherwood Park. He sees patients of all ages, but strives to improve the eye health of children by visiting parenting groups, contributing to parenting blogs, visiting kindergartens, and by making eye exams fun for kids. He is taking new patients at both locations.
Advice from the Expert
Getting stuff in our eyes hurts. As a dad, I’ve had many fingers in my eyes while wrestling with my kids and it always stops me in my tracks. Our eyes our very sensitive when they get things in them and sunscreen is no exception. Here are a few things to keep in mind if your child gets sunscreen in the eye:
- Stay calm. Your child may be in pain but this pain will not last and sunscreen in the eyes will not cause any lasting damage. If you are visibly scared, your child will be more scared. If you are calm, that will help your child be as calm as possible (which will help with the next steps).
- Wash with water. With my kids, I’ll lay them on the counter with their head hanging over the sink (looking up) and using a cup will gently pour water on the eye. I try to get them to look up and try to pry the lids open if I can.
- Artificial Tears. At our office or any drugstore, you can find lubricating eye drops that do not contain any medications. Use those for the next day or two to help with comfort. These are just for comfort so if they will only go in your child’s eye with a fight, consider whether it is worth it.
- If your child is still in some discomfort, try putting a cold washcloth over the eyes. If you’re concerned for any reason, visit your optometrist or feel free to visit me. If you just want to ask a question, email me at email@example.com.
When visiting kindergartens, I always remind kids that sunscreen is not for the eyes but that they still need to protect their eyes from the sun. The best way to do that is sunglasses with 100%UV protection. This will reduce their risk for many eye diseases including cataracts.