How To Apply Eyedrops

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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

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly before applying the eyedrops. 
  2. 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.
  3. 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. 
  4. 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

Written by Trevor Miranda

Dr. Miranda was raised in Simcoe, Ontario and graduated from the University of Waterloo with his Doctorate of Optometry in 1995. Following graduation, he moved to beautiful Vancouver Island, where he continues to serve the eye care needs of the Cowichan Valley. Trevor is also an active member of the Third World Eye Care Society and has participated with other professionals to improve the vision of the less fortunate. Dr. Miranda was named Optometrist of the Year by the British Columbia Association of Optometrists in March 2015. This prestigious honour recognized Dr. Miranda’s commitment to providing every patient with exceptional care while mentoring optometrists across Canada. Outside the office, you will find Trevor enjoying hockey, coaching soccer, involved with the South Cowichan Rotary Club, and spending time with his wife Cheryl and their three children. Trevor looks forward to continuing to care for the eyes of the Cowichan Valley and welcomes new patients without a referral. Dr. Miranda is available for appointments in our Duncan and Cobble Hill.
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