Inserting eye drops tends to be one of the most difficult, frustrating medications to utilize. We either miss the eye entirely, get a part of the drop in the eye, put it on our cheek or think a drop came out when actually nothing happened. None of the above are acceptable, as using drops for conditions such as glaucoma are as important as using any oral medication prescribed for other problems.
While every eye drop is different in its exact size, all bottles are designed in a way such that the eye drop contains much more medicine than your eyeball can even handle. This means that you do not have to worry if excess medication drips down your cheek, and you can be assured that enough has reached your eye. This also means that you should not purposely instill two or more drops in an attempt to get more into your eye, as you will be wasting the medication. Another trick is to store your eye drops in the refrigerator. You will know that the eye drop has reached your eye when you feel the cold sensation. (Ask your pharmacist if it is okay to store in the refrigerator.)
To instill the eye drop, look up to the ceiling with both eyes. While tilting your head back, pull the lower lid of your eye down with one hand. This forms a little pocket in the lower lid. Place one drop in this little pocket. When you close your eye, the drop spreads over the entire eye.
To help the eye drop penetrate your eye more completely, keep your eyes closed for 2 minutes after instilling the drop because blinking activates the “pump” that drains your tears away from the eyeball. This is a good time to relax and take a moment to refresh yourself during your day.
A second way to ensure penetration of the eye drop into your eye is to perform “punctal occlusion.” This involves pressing your finger (your index finger is recommended) near the inside corner of your eye for 2 minutes after instilling the eye drop. Your eyeball’s drainage system for your tears is in this area and, by pressing it closed, you prevent the medication from draining away from your eyeball and into your nose. An added bonus is this maneuver prevents the medication from making its way into the nose, throat, and the rest of the body, so that any eye drops that could have side effects on your body as a whole are minimized. Therefore, the ideal way to instill your eye drops is to combine both methods: close your eyes and press on the inside corners for 2 minutes after a drop is instilled.
Practice Makes Perfect — Learning how to properly instill eye drops takes time and practice. You can use a bottle of artificial tears to practice so as not to waste your medications. Also, ask your eye care provider support staff to practice with you to find a technique that works for you. Artificial tears can be used to practice inserting your drops properly and refresh your eyes at the same time! If this continues to be a challenge, please let your doctor know. There are other methods/devices that may be beneficial as well.
If you do not have an eye care provider, Summit Eye Care would be happy to schedule an eye examination for you.
Please call 336-765-0960 and a staff member will assist you.