Comm Eye Health Vol. 25 No. 78 2012 pp 36. Published online 09 October 2012.

Taping an eyelid closed

Sue Stevens

Former Nurse Advisor, Community Eye Health Journal, International Centre for Eye Health

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Before performing any eye procedure

  • Wash your hands (and afterwards too).
  • Position the patient comfortably with head supported.
  • Avoid anything that may distract you or the patient.
  • Ensure good lighting.
  • Always explain to the patient what you are going to do.
Figures 1-4. How to tape an eyelid closed. © Pak Sang Lee
Figures 1-4. How to tape an eyelid closed. © Pak Sang Lee

Reasons for taping an eyelid closed

  • To protect an eye with an anaesthetised cornea.
  • To avoid exposure keratitis, e.g., when normal eyelid closure cannot be achieved.
  • To aid healing of an epithelial defect.
  • To assist eyelid closure under an eye pad.

You will need

  • Scissors
  • Waterproof adhesive tape: 2.5 centimetres (1 inch) wide

NOTE: Use only lightweight tape, as others are likely to cause a reaction when used on the sensitive skin of the eyelids.


  • Carefully explain the procedure to the patient so she or he understands what will happen. It can be very alarming to find that your eye cannot open!
  • Ensure the eyelid skin is clean and dry.
  • Ask the patient to close both eyes.


  • Cut a piece of tape approximately 4 cm long (Figure 1).
  • Hold the tape horizontally. Apply the top half of the tape to the lower half of the eyelid (Figure 2).
  • Secure the bottom half of the tape to the skin below the lower eyelid (Figure 3).
  • Check that closure is effective by asking the patient to open both eyes (Figure 4); this should be impossible for the taped eye.
  • Reassure the patient again by reminding her or him of the aim of the procedure.

NOTE: The tape can become loose over time, so replace as necessary.