Learn the proper technique for using eye drops correctly and effectively.
Putting a drop in your eye may seem like no big deal – a quick squeeze and you’re done. But keeping the drop in your eye so it can do its job requires more than that. You need to follow the proper technique. Doing so will not only prevent the drop from rolling out of your eye, it may also help protect you from some unpleasant side effects.
If you use eye drops the wrong way, some of it may run out through your tear drainage system, which is at the corner of your eye near your nose. It can then travel through your sinuses, into your bloodstream and around your body. Some eye drops, especially those used every day to treat glaucoma or increased pressure in the eye, can cause side effects if allowed to enter the bloodstream. These problems can include:
- Low or high blood pressure
- Changes in heart rhythm
- Depression or nervousness
How to use eye drops correctly
Follow these steps to help ensure you are getting the most out of your eye medication:
- Tilt your head back.
- Carefully pull down your lower eyelid, creating a little pocket, and look up.
- Gently squeeze one drop into the pocket.
- Let go of your lower lid, close your eye and use a finger to gently press on the corner of your eye near your nose. Keep it there for at least two minutes. This will help prevent the medication from dripping out or draining into your sinuses.
Other important eye-drop-taking tips
- Always wash your hands before and after using eye drops.
- Read the label to see if you need to shake the bottle.
- If you are taking more than one type of eye drop, ask your doctor how long you should wait between the use of each.
- Don’t touch the tip of the bottle or put it down on any surface. Put the cap back on as soon as you’re finished.
Using eye drops in special situations
- If your hands are unsteady: Ask someone to put the drops in for you, or ask your doctor or pharmacist about special devices that can help you put the drop in.
- If you wear contact lenses: If you’re taking drops for medical eye problems, ask your doctor if you need to keep your lenses out while you are taking the medication.
- If a child needs eye drops: Have the child lie down with eyes closed and put a drop in the inner corner of the eye. When the child opens the eye, the drop will run into it.
Following the proper eye-drop-taking technique is simple – and will help ensure that your medication is doing its job.