Eyedrops are one of the most common ways to treat many eye diseases and conditions. However, many eyedrops need a prescription, and could be harmful if used without consulting your doctor.
Only one sixth of the amount of eyedrop that most commercial dropper bottles deliver can be retained by the eye. Excess medication either drips onto the cheek or flows into the nasolacrimal duct, the tear drainage system. Although rare, if excess eye drops enter the bloodstream via this duct, side effects such as stomach cramps and diarrhea, and more severe ones, such as slowing of the heart rate, asthma attacks and low blood pressure, could occur.
A simple technique called nasolacrimal occlusion (NLO) can prevent the drug from flowing into the drainage duct. This technique helps retain more medicine in the eye and makes it more effective.
How To Apply Eyedrops: Four Easy Steps
- Wash your hands thoroughly before applying the eyedrops.
- To apply the drops, tilt your head back. Use your index finger to pull down the lower lid of your eye. Then carefully squeeze out one drop into each eye while looking up toward your forehead.
- After applying the drop, close your eye, and use a finger to gently press the corner of your eye by the side of your nose for at least two minutes. If you are applying more than one type of drop, wait at least 15 minutes between drops.
- Use a facial tissue to wipe away any excess drops on your eyelids. Wash your hands thoroughly after applying the eyedrops.
Safe Application of Eyedrops: Some Useful Tips
- Do not use a bottle of eyedrops for longer than one month after opening. After this time, discard the remaining solution.
- Do not touch the dropper tip to any surface, including your eye and fingers, to avoid contaminating the solution.
- After applying the eyedrops, replace the cap right away without wiping or rinsing off the dropper.
- Do not instil a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are unsure of what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor.
- Do not share the eyedrop medication with anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do.
- Protect the eyedrops from light and excessive heat