How do you instil eye drops?
Dry eye has become an all too familiar issue for many people. Reports have stated that up to 85% of the population has experienced dry eye at some point, with a significant increase in the frequency and severity post-pandemic. As we face this surge in dry eye cases, it’s essential to know how to properly care for our eyes by instilling eye drops effectively. For many people, instilling eye drops can be difficult. Following the correct process, and a bit of practice, will increase your confidence and make it easier to instil your drops without missing, or using too much.
Instilling eye drops correctly is important to:
1. Ensure the proper delivery of medication to the intended target area of the eye and maximise its effectiveness
2. Ensure the appropriate dosage is received
3. Prevent contamination of the drop bottle with the eye
4. Prevent eye drop bottle wastage
5. Prevent side effects
How to instil eye drops correctly:
1. Read your drop instructions carefully, including how often you are required to use them and how to correctly store them (refrigerated or cool dry place)
2. Wash your hands with soap and water
3. Check the expiration date on your bottle
4. Shake the bottle gently, not too much or the eye drops may become bubbly and effect the dosage
5. Remove the cap of the eye drop bottle. Do not touch the tip of the bottle with your fingers or you risk contaminating the bottle and its contents
6. Choose a comfortable position where you can tip your head back and look up, this could be standing, sitting or even lying down
7. Use one hand to pull your lower eyelid down, away from your eye, to form a pocket for the drop
8. With the other hand hold the bottle tip over the pocket, being careful not to touch the eye or eyelashes as this could contaminate the bottle and its contents
9. Squeeze the bottle to release the prescribed number of drops into the pocket formed by your lower lid
10. Close your eye and apply gentle pressure to your tear ducts – in the corner of your eye where the eyelid meets the nose for 1-2 minutes. This allows the eye drop to be absorbed into the eye and stops it draining away.
11. Wipe any excess drops away with a clean tissue
Handy tips for instilling eye drops correctly
Ask your pharmacist if your eye drops can be refrigerated, if so, when eye drops are cold it may make it easier to feel the drop enter the eye
If you can taste the eye drops you are not applying enough pressure to the tear duct
Some bottles come with devices that can help you aim or squeeze your eye drop bottle. Ask your pharmacist if they are available with your eye drop bottle.