Eye Drops – (How to Use)

How to Use Eye Drops | Health | Patient UK

This leaflet gives general advice on how to use most eye drops. However, you may be given specific instructions which may vary from the advice below. Ask your pharmacist if you have any queries.

Using eye drops

  • Wash your hands and sit or stand in front of a mirror.
  • Take off the top of the bottle.
  • Bend your head backwards and gently pull your lower eyelid down.
  • Hold the dropper above one eye. Squeeze one drop into the pocket formed by gently pulling down the lower eyelid. Try not to touch your eye, eyelashes, or anything else with the dropper tip.
  • Let go of the eyelid and keep the eye closed for as long as possible after application of the eye drop.
  • Wipe away any liquid that falls onto your cheek with a tissue.
  • Repeat in the other eye if the drop is prescribed for both eyes.
  • When two different eye drop preparations are used at the same time of day, wait for at least five minutes before putting the second drop into an eye. This allows the first drop to ‘settle in’ and not be washed out by a second drop if it is put in too quickly.

Some points about eye drops

Eye drops are sterile (free from bacteria) before the bottle top is opened. Once it is opened:

  • Keep the bottle closed in a cool, dark place (unless otherwise advised).
  • Do not let the dropper or dropper nozzle touch your eye, fingers, or any other surface. This is to keep it free from bacteria (germs).
  • Do not let anyone else use your drops, and do not use anyone else’s drops yourself.
  • Throw out the bottle (and get a new one if required) after the recommended time. This is often four weeks after first opening the bottle. There is a risk that the drops may become infected if they are kept and used for longer than advised. (One tip is to write the date that you opened the bottle on the label so you will know when it is time to throw it out.)
  • You may get a taste of eye drops in your mouth, or a feeling that the drops are running down your throat. This is normal as the tear duct which drains tears to your nose will also drain some of the eye drop.
  • Some eye drops sting or irritate for a short while. Rarely, some people are allergic to some eye drops. Tell your doctor if eye symptoms become worse after using eye drops.
  • Do not wear contact lenses whilst using eye drops unless otherwise advised. (Some drugs and preservatives in eye drops can accumulate in soft contact lenses and may cause harm.)
  • Keep the eye drops out of children’s reach.

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