Years of experience with eye care gives us perspective on best practices in a variety of treatments. If the situation calls for it, we may prescribe eye drops as a remedy for very specific reasons. Eye drops may be needed to treat conditions like pink eye, dry eye, conjunctivitis, glaucoma, and many more.
Applying eye drops is easy once you know the proper technique. It’s a solid trick to have up your sleeve, as some medicines don’t come in a more solid form. Gels and ointments aren’t as difficult to apply because they aren’t liquid.
For best results, you must apply the eye drops properly. If you use eye drops and the solution isn’t appropriately distributed across the surface of the eye, you or your optometrist might find the eye drops less effective.
Getting the Best Results from Eye Drops
We follow a set of best practices so that your eye drops can work on your eyes with complete efficiency. That way, you can enjoy symptom relief and complete the course of treatment.
Eye drops can contain different substances in the solution, some of which are organic, like steroids or antibiotics. They need to be applied in such a way that they’re completely absorbed.
Checking the Expiry Date Is Important
Some eye drops are prescription, and some are not, but all will have expiry dates. The eye drops that contain active organic compounds like steroids could have adverse effects if applied past expiry.
While other types of eye drops won’t have active organic compounds the expiry date should be respected even so. The reason why is because the bottle has an expiry too. If liquids sit in a plastic container for too long, they can begin to absorb microscopic plastic particles into the solution, which could end up in your eyes.
6 Steps for Applying Eye Drops
As you’ll be applying the drops to your eyes, your optometrist recommends washing your hands first. Afterward, dry them thoroughly with a clean towel. If your eyes are producing a discharge or have a crust, clean your eyes gently with wet cotton balls. Your optometrist may also recommend lid hygiene wipes. Wipe your eyes from the inner part (nose side) going outward. Wipe the bottle with lukewarm water and soap suds, ensuring the cap is on tight beforehand. Rinse the bottle thoroughly to remove any suds.
Read the Label
Start by carefully reading the label on the bottle. Look for a description that indicates the drops are “for ophthalmic use.” Make sure the drops in hand are the medication your doctor prescribed since your last visit — and make sure they’re the ones that were prescribed to you! You wouldn’t want your roommate’s prescription instead of yours.
Next, check the expiration date. If expired, call your optometrist and pick up a new bottle.
Prepare the Bottle
Once your hands and eyes are clean, and you’ve confirmed the prescription is yours and usable, gently shake the bottle. Then remove the cap and rest it on a piece of tissue paper. Avoid touching the tip of the bottle where the solution comes out. Touching the tip could line it with microbes, which will be present next time you use it.
Tilt Your Head
To make applying the eye drops easier, tilt your head upwards. Hold the bottle in your dominant hand. As you fix your eyes on a point at the ceiling, use your free hand to pull down your lower eyelid. Doing so creates a pocket where you can pour the drops.
Apply Eye Drops as Instructed
Place the hand holding the bottle above your eye. Gently squeeze the bottle according to the number of drops your optometrist prescribed during your eye exam. It might take some practice learning how much pressure to apply so you don't overshoot.
Allow the Eye Drops to Settle
Close your eyes and blot the area with a tissue to pick up any excess solution. Press the inner part of your eye to ensure proper absorption of the eye drops. Do this for at least two minutes if you’ll be applying the same solution in the same eye. Replace the cap on the bottle, immediately.
If you’ll be applying a different set of eye drops, wait five minutes before following the same procedure.
Keep Using Eye Drops as Directed
Most people will encounter a situation where they need eye drops at least once in their lives. Getting the application right can be a challenge because we have a natural reflex keeping us from allowing foreign objects or substances into our eyes.
If you apply eye drops correctly and as directed, you’ll probably notice the difference. Following these steps are a surefire way to get past the psychological obstacle. With practice, you can enjoy the gradual relief that various eye drops provide. You’ve got this!
Unclear about any point on how to effectively administer eye drops? Call us at (301) 859-4060 or complete our form. We serve areas throughout Washington, Alexandria, and Rockville.