How to Use Eye Drops
Glaucoma eye drops to lower intraocular pressure are the most important form of initial treatment for glaucoma. Despite their widespread use, many patients do not know how to apply them correctly. Fortunately, there are several ways to do this effectively. Using a mirror or having someone else give you the eye drops may make this procedure easier.
Instilling Glaucoma Eye Drops
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
- Use a mirror or have someone else put the drops in your eye.
- Remove the protective cap. Make sure that the end of the dropper is not chipped or cracked.
- Avoid touching the dropper tip against your eye or anything else.
- Hold the dropper tip down at all times to prevent drops from flowing back into the bottle and contaminating the remaining contents.
- Lie down or tilt your head back.
- Holding the bottle between your thumb and index finger, place the dropper tip as near as possible to your eyelid without touching it.
- Brace the remaining fingers of that hand against your cheek or nose.
- With the index finger of your other hand, pull the lower lid of the eye down to form a pocket. (Fig. 1)
- Drop a single eye drop into the pocket made by the lower lid and the eye. Placing drops on the surface of the eyeball can cause stinging. Using more than one eye drop will cause overflow and waste.
- After applying the drop, the eyelids should be gently closed for about two minutes to allow time for the medication to be absorbed into the eye.
- Although you may feel like blinking, you should try to avoid this. Blinking may squeeze the drop out of the eye and into the tear duct which leads into the nose. By gently closing the lids, the medication will remain in contact with the eye so that it can be absorbed.
- Block the tear ducts with your thumb or index finger for two minutes as the eyelids are gently closed, so the flow of the drop and the tears into the nose can be avoided (Fig. 2).
- Replace and tighten the cap right away. Do not wipe or rinse it off.
- Wipe off any excess liquid from your cheek with a clean tissue. Wash your hands again.
Using More Than One Eye Drop
If you are using more than one eye drop, you should wait at least 5 minutes before applying the second eye drop to have it absorbed best. The lower lid pocket into which the drop is placed is small and can hold a little more than one drop at a time. Placing more than one drop at a time causes an overflow, and washes the eye drop from the eye.
Bring your eye drops with you every time you have an appointment, your eye doctor will help you learn to use them correctly.