Eye drop medications are one of the most common products found in household medicine cabinets. Whether used to treat dry eye, allergies, conjunctivitis, ocular inflammation, or glaucoma. Eye drop medication may also be prescribed following eye surgery in order to prevent infection or reduce inflammation.
To get the greatest benefit from eye drops, you need to use them properly. If used incorrectly or overused, eye drops can actually damage eye health.
If you’re struggling to use your eye drops as directed, don’t give up! Just follow these simple tips to obtain the greatest benefit from your eye drops and to minimize any side effects.
Tips For Properly Using Eye Drops
- Always read the label
Many people have made the mistake of inserting the wrong product into their eyes. Eye drop bottles may easily get mixed up with ear drops or other medications. Such mix-ups can potentially damage your eyes, and even result in chemical burns. We actually had a patient who accidentally put crazy glue into their eye thinking it was a contact lens rewetting drop.
- Apply one drop at a time
When you insert one drop of eye medication and then a second one, you are really not getting more into your eye. you eye can physically hold less than one drops, so the second drop is not effective. Also, some individuals need to use 2 different eye drop medications to treat their particular problem. If we put the second drop in before the first drop is absorbed, then we don't get the benefit we hope to get. It is a good idea to wait 10 minutes between inserting the 2 medication so that they will be absorbed.
- Apply drops on the center of the eye
When applying eye drops, aim for the middle part of the eye, but you can even close your eye and put the drop in toward your nose, and then open your eyes. The medication will still get into your eye. .
- Close your eyes
When applying eye drops, aim for the middle part of the eye, but you can even close your eye and put the drop in toward your nose, and then open your eyes. The medication will still get into your eye. After you insert the medication, it is wise to keep your eyes shut for 2 minutes. That way, there is less reflex tearing and more contact time between your eye and the medication. It will have a better opportunity to be absorbed.
- Avoid blinking your eyes vigorously after applying eye drops
Instead, gently close your eyes for a few moments or blink as you normally would. By blinking vigorously, you will end up pushing the eye drops out of your eye.
- Punctal Occlusion
Your tears drain through a small canal into the back of the nose. The nose has many blood vessels.
When you insert eye drops, the medication can then enter the tear system and rapidly absorb into the bloodstream. To prevent this from happening, place a soft pressure on the lower tear ducts (situated by the bridge of the nose) after applying the drops. Do this by gently pinching at the sides of your nose. Doing so will help reduce any potential side-effects, such as an increase in blood sugar or blood pressure (in the case of topical steroid drops).
- Avoid having the tip of the bottle touch your eye
Always make sure you hold the bottle at least 1 inch away from your eye. If the tip does touch the eye, it may lead to infection, as the bacteria from your eye can contaminate the solution.
- Don't mix eye drops
If you have multiple prescriptions or use over-the-counter drops, apply them at different times during the day. Combining too many drops at once may reduce their effectiveness.
- Always read the label
Though applying eye drops may seem like a straightforward task, not everyone does it right. If you have questions or are having difficulty applying eye drops, speak with Dr. Roth at Family Eye Care in Old Bridge. You can reach us at 732-679-2020. We serve patients in Old Bridge, South River, South Amboy, East Brunswick, Manalapan, Monroe, Matwan, Marlboro, and throughout new Jersey.