Anyone who has ever used eye drops for dry eye disease or other reasons knows how tricky it can be to apply them. Frequently missing your eye can be annoying, wastes product that can be expensive, and in some cases can even lead to infection by flooding the eye with unwanted bacteria from the skin. To maximize the effectiveness of your eye drops and prevent contaminating your eye, it is important to practice with non-medicated over-the-counter eye drops. There is also a correct method to applying them to greatly increase success.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to apply eye drops the right way:
1. Wash your hands thoroughly. Anytime you are dealing with your eyes, it is important to practice proper hygiene. Not doing so will run the risk of infection.
2. Inspect the dropper for damage. A damaged tip will reduce the accuracy of the application, and could cause it to over apply, which is not only wasteful, but could be harmful if you are using medicated drops that have a strict application amount. Be sure not to touch the tip to avoid contaminating it.
3. Tilt your head up. You may choose to lie down, sit, or stand. In any case, fixate on a specific point on the ceiling and keep your focus on it.
4. Use your hands to gently hold your eye open. You only need to pull on your lower lid. Be careful not to touch too close to your eye – about an inch from the edge of the lid should work fine.
5. Hold the dropper in your other hand about an inch away from your eye. Again, do not touch your eye with your hand or the dropper. Be wary not to let the dropper’s tip touch your eyelashes or your skin. Steady your hand on your forehead if you are having trouble keeping your hand still.
6. Gently squeeze to apply one drop. Take your time, and don’t squeeze out more than one at a time. Your eye could become oversaturated causing the excess liquid to drip out anyways. Allow about 5 minutes for your eye to absorb the first drop.
7. Close your eyes. Do so gently as you remove your hands from your face and tip your head down. Keep the eyes closed and resist the urge to blink, so the liquid does not drain too quickly.
8. Press lightly on your tear duct. This is the inside corner of your eye. Doing this will further stop liquid from draining. Keep your eyes closed for about 2 minutes.
9. Wipe away excess liquid on your face with a tissue. Make sure it is clean.
10. Carefully replace the cap. Once more, do not touch the tip or the inside of the cap.
11. Wash your hands again. Remember this step, especially if your eye drops are medicated.
It may be uncomfortable at first, but with some practice, this procedure will become second nature. If you live in the Greater Toronto Area and think that you may need prescription eye drops, make sure to contact us at North Toronto Eye Care. We will be happy to answer any of your questions!