Got Tips on Cleaning Gucky Eyes?

  1. I have a couple residents whose eyes get very gucky during the night. Sometimes they can barely open them. It isn't pink-eye, it's just normal eye stuff, but they can't wipe there own eyes so it builds up.

    My question is, do any of you have tricks for cleaning eyes well without causing the person discomfort? Both these residents push the washcloth away so it's very hard to get in there and clean them but I hate to leave the guck!

    Thanks in advance.

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    About Spring_Peeper

    Joined: Apr '06; Posts: 42; Likes: 45
    RN; from US
    Specialty: Geriatrics


  3. by   Jolie
    It sounds like these folks are not able to be too cooperative, so I would suggest a trick I used with my kids when they were little. I would tell them that I was going to give them a beauty treatment or a facial. I would then take a warm (not too hot) washcloth and lay it over their eyes while I got their clothes, toothbrush, hairbrush, etc ready. Just a minute or two of warm water helped a lot in softening up the "gunk", making it much easier to wipe away. Also, even when they were very little, my girls hated me going near their eyes, so I taught them how to clean the gunk away using a clean spot on the washcloth. They were much more cooperative when they did it themselves. I don't know if your residents are capable of this, but it might be worth a try. You can hold a hand mirror for them.

    Also, you may be correct that they do not have eye infections, but such copious amounts of drainage make me wonder about blocked tear ducts and/or allergies. So please ask the nurse to take a look, and ask whether massaging the ducts or using allergy drops may be helpful.

    Good luck!
  4. by   Spring_Peeper
    Thanks, Jolie.
    I tried the warm washcloth with one of my residents this morning and to my surprise she did not object to it at all. She still pushes away the cloth when I wipe her eyes, but like you said it didn't take me as long because the gunk softened up. She has severe dementia and doesn't do anything for herself, so handing her the washcloth resulted in a look of confusion. But that would definitely work with more capable residents.
    I appreciate the advice. Thanks!
  5. by   S.N. Visit
    For thicker guck on the eyes, I use baby shampoo (no tears forumla's) it works like a charm!
  6. by   UM Review RN
    Quote from Tanzanite
    For thicker guck on the eyes, I use baby shampoo (no tears forumla's) it works like a charm!

    Yes, some LTCs I've worked actually have orders for that. Of course, you dilute the soap in water, don't apply it directly to the eye.
  7. by   mcknis
    great tips!