Tips on Instilling Your Eye Drops Properly

Medically Reviewed by Whitney Seltman, OD on November 09, 2022
2 min read

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

If you are unable to properly instill the eye drops as prescribed by your eye doctor, 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 eye drops.

  • Wash your hands before putting in your eye drops. This will help reduce the chance that you will get an infection or that your eye drops will become contaminated.
  • You may find it easier to tell that the eye drop has gone in your eye if you keep your eye drops in the refrigerator, because the eye drop will feel cold when it goes in your eye.
  • If you have to put in more than one kind of eye drop at a time, it usually does not matter which eye drop goes in first. However, allow 10 minutes between putting in different eye drops so that the first eye drop can “soak in” and is not “washed out” by the second eye drop.
  • 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 eye drop 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 eye drop and raise your risk of infection.
  • Gently squeeze the bottle so that 1 eye drop falls into the small pocket created just inside your lower eyelid. If the eye drop 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 eye drop 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.