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How To Put in Eye Drops

Eye drops are used to treat a wide variety of conditions — from glaucoma and eye infections, to allergies and dry eyes. In many cases, eye drops are essential to preserving your vision and protecting your eyes.

To get the greatest benefit from eye drops, you must use them properly.

Your eye doctor or pharmacist may give you instructions that are specific to the prescription eye drops you need. But in most cases, the proper technique for applying eye drops is the same, whether you are using prescription or over-the-counter formulas.

Failing to learn how to correctly put drops in your eyes not only can defeat the purpose of having them, it also can get expensive. Each time you miss your eye and have to use more drops than you should, it costs you money — potentially a lot of money in the case of some prescription eye drops.

Not everyone finds it easy to put in eye drops. It takes some practice to not immediately blink when something nears the eye, but here are some tips to make it easier.

1. Wash your hands with soap and water; then dry them with a clean towel.

2. If you are wearing contact lenses, remove them. The only exception is if you are using eye drops that are specifically formulated to remoisten your contacts or if your doctor advised you to use the drops in this manner.

3. Remove the dropper cap and look closely at the tip to make sure it's not cracked or otherwise damaged. Do not touch the tip.

4. Either lie down or tilt your head back and look up at the ceiling. Concentrate on a point on the ceiling, keeping your eye wide open.

5. Place one or two fingers on your face about an inch below your eye; gently pull down to create a pocket between your lower eyelid and your eyeball. You don’t need to tug hard, just a gentle pressure will be enough.

6. Use your other hand to hold the eye drop bottle, pointing the tip downward. Resting your hand on your forehead may help steady it.

7. Hold the bottle close to your eye (about an inch away). Be careful not to let the dropper touch your eye or eyelashes, since this can introduce bacteria and other organisms into the eye drops in the bottle.

8. Squeeze lightly to instill one drop inside your lower lid.

9. Remove your hands from your face, gently close your eyes and tilt your head down for a few seconds. Try not to blink, as this can force some of the drop out of your eye before it has had a chance to be absorbed.

10. To keep as much of the drop on your eye as possible, press lightly on the inner corner of your eyelid, next to your nose. A small duct that drains tears away from your eye and into your nose is located here. By pressing at this point, you close down the opening of this drainage duct, allowing the eye drop to remain on the surface of your eye longer.

This technique also minimizes the funny taste you may get in your mouth after applying certain eye drops.

11. Use a clean tissue to absorb and wipe away any drops that spill out of your eye and onto your eyelids and face.

12. If you are using eye drops on both eyes, repeat this procedure for the second eye.

13. Replace the cap of the bottle and screw it on securely. Never wipe the dropper tip with anything, as this may contaminate the drops.

14. Wash your hands to clean away any stray eye drops.

Knowing how to apply eye drops properly will save you time, aggravation and, especially in the case of prescription drops, quite a bit of money.