Tips for Taking Glaucoma (and Other) Eye Drops
Problems with Putting in Your Eye Drops?
One of the reasons people cite for not following through with their prescribed treatment regimen for glaucoma is that it is difficult to put in their eye drops, or the drops themselves are irritating.
One tip is to keep your eye drops refrigerated. By doing so, the drops themselves will feel cool and soothing to the surface of your eye when you use them. Also, you can feel the cool drop as it falls into your eye versus onto your skin. This way, you are sure the drop has in gone in your eye and not on your cheek.
- Initially, you might want to practice these techniques with artificial tears instead of using your actual eye drop medication.
- Wash your hands before putting in your eye drops.
- If the instructions say, “Shake well before using,” this is the time to do it.
- Tilt your head back – sitting on a chair or couch and resting your head on the backrest may be helpful.
- Hold the bottle in with the first three fingers of your dominant hand and hold it upside down.
- Place it as close as possible to your eye. However, be careful not to let the tip of the dropper touch any part of your eye. Make sure the dropper stays clean.
- With your non-dominant hand, use your ring finger to pull down your lower eyelid. This forms a “pocket.”
- Place the prescribed number of drops into the lower eyelid pocket. If you put in more than one drop, wait at least two to five minutes before putting in the next drop. This will prevent the first drop from being washed out by the second.
- Close your eye or press gently against the lower lid near your nose lightly with your finger for at least one minute. This will help keep the drop in your eye and prevent the drops from draining into the tear duct, which can increase your risk of side effects.
- Close your eyes gently and wait a few moments.
- Gently blot around your eyes to remove any excess.
Adaptations to Help with Eye Drops
- The Autodrop Eye Drop Guide holds the eye open and directs the drop, allowing for accurate dosage. It is easily attached to any eye drop bottle. The attached cap closes the bottle when not in use. The Autodrop is reusable after cleaning. It is available from Maxiaids.com.
- The Autosqueeze Eyedrop Bottle Squeezer adds “levers” around the bottle to make squeezing easier and more controlled for persons with reduced grip strength, arthritis, or injury. The Autosqueeze fits snugly around the neck of most small plastic dispensing bottles, does not interfere with the cap opening and closing, and transfers easily to other bottles when needed. It is available from Maxiaids.com.
You can find more information about managing a variety of medications after vision loss at Medication Management, Organization, and Labeling.
For patient-centered information about glaucoma detection, treatment, and everyday management, see VisionAware’s Patient’s Guide to Living with Glaucoma and Guía del Paciente: Vivir con Glaucoma.
By Ira Marc Price, O.D., Updated by Sefy Paulose, March, M.D., 2022