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Eye Health Center

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Tips on Instilling Your Eyedrops Properly

If you have glaucoma, you most likely use one or more kinds of eyedrops, possibly 2, 3, or more times during the day. These eyedrops are critical in protecting and preserving your vision. By lowering the pressure inside your eye, the eyedrops help prevent further optic nerve damage and vision loss.

If you are unable to properly instill the eyedrops as prescribed by your ophthalmologist (a medical doctor who specializes in eye care and surgery), you may ultimately end up losing your vision permanently. The following tips may be helpful to you if you have glaucoma or another condition that requires the use of eyedrops.

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  • Wash your hands before putting in your eyedrops. This will help reduce the chance that you will get an infection or that your eyedrops will become contaminated.
  • You may find it easier to tell that the eyedrop has gone in your eye if you keep your eyedrops in the refrigerator, because the eyedrop will feel cold when it goes in your eye.
  • If you have to put in more than one kind of eyedrop at a time, it usually does not matter which eyedrop goes in first. However, allow 3-5 minutes between putting in different eyedrops so that the first eyedrop can “soak in” and is not “washed out” by the second eyedrop.
  • Start by tilting your head back.
  • With the index finger of one hand, gently pull down on your lower eyelid to form a small pocket just inside the eyelid.
  • With the other hand, hold the eyedrop bottle between your thumb and index finger. Rest that hand on the hand that is gently pulling down on your lower eyelid.
  • Try not to allow the tip of the bottle to come into contact with your hands or your eye because this may contaminate the eyedrop and raise your risk of infection.
  • Gently squeeze the bottle so that 1 eyedrop falls into the small pocket created just inside your lower eyelid. If the eyedrop lands here, it is usually more comfortable than if it lands directly on your eye.
  • Slowly release your lower eyelid.
  • Allow your eyes to close gently for a few minutes. Blinking many times or squeezing your eyelids shut may force the eyedrop off your eye so that it does not take effect.
  • You may wish to press gently against the inner corner of your eyelids right by your nose to block off the tear drainage system so that the medicine does not drain away from the eye. This will maximize the amount of medicine absorbed into the eye and will help minimize the amount of medicine absorbed into the bloodstream.
  • Follow your doctor's instructions as closely as possible.

WebMD Medical Reference from eMedicineHealth

Reviewed by Alan Kozarsky, MD on April 25, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.

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