Using Eye Drops

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There are two main ways to instil eye drops into your eye.

Standing or sitting

This method is best performed with the help of a mirror.

  • Remove the eyedrop bottle lid and have the bottle ready in one hand
  • Pull the lower eyelid gently down with your other hand to make a small ‘pocket’
  • Bring the tip of the bottle over the pocket taking care not to touch the tip on your eye or eyelid
  • Squeeze gently, letting the drop fall into the pocket without the bottle tip touching your eye or eyelid

Lying down

This method can be performed lying on a bed, couch or the floor.

  • Remove the eyedrop bottle lid and have the bottle ready nearby
  • Lie facing the ceiling
  • Bring the bottle to hover over your eye
  • Squeeze gently

Tricks and tips

  • Use adequate lighting
  • Keeping your drops chilled makes it easier to feel when and where the drop lands
  • If you are having trouble with medication, practice with a bottle of artificial tears
  • One drop at a time is more than enough, but instil another if you are unsure the first went in
  • Some bottles have ‘accessories’ that help you squeeze the bottle. Ask Dr. McKellar or one of his staff if you would like to try these
  • If you are using more than one type of eyedrop, wait at least two minutes before instilling the second drop This avoids the second drop washing away the first before the active drug is absorbed into the eye
  • Some people taste the drops in their mouth a few minutes later. If this is unpleasant, ask Dr McKellar or one of the nurses to show you how to perform ‘punctal occlusion’
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Punctal occlusion

Eyedrops can enter the tear drainage system and ultimately be absorbed into the blood stream and cause side effects elsewhere in the body. To reduce the amount of drug absorbed the tear puncta can be compressed after instillation. Press on the area next to the bridge of your nose for two minutes with the tips of each index finger.

Side effects

Eyedrops can cause side effects and allergic reactions. Please let Dr McKellar know if the drops cause grittiness, itch or redness.