The Right Way to Use Eye Drops (Part 2)

If you have read the first part of this post, then you already know that eye drops are not used without any consideration of how it is meant to be used by people who are experiencing common eye conditions. If you haven’t then you can read the first part and go back here once you have. What we are basically trying to tell people is that eye drops, which any Arizona ophthalmologist would say, is that as much as they seem to be easy-to-use and readily available anywhere, anytime, they do have a certain way of being used. Here’s the continuation of the list of the proper usage of eye drops.

  1. Do not Skip Your Prescribed Eye Drops Even When You Have an Appointment

“Always use the medicine on the day of your exam unless it’s directed otherwise,” Marioneaux says. “The purpose of the appointment is to see if the drops are working.” Don’t worry about your prescribed eye drops interfering with the appointment, unless you have specific instructions from your eye doctor to stop using them.

  1. Always Check the Expiration Date

When having a prescription filled, check the expiration date to make sure it won’t lapse during your treatment. If an eye drop does expire, speak to your doctor about whether it’s safe to continue using or if you need a new prescription. If you have drops left over after stopping treatment, “just keep it in a safe place,” Marioneaux says. “But if you’re feeling like you’re having a problem, please don’t just indiscriminately use it. Come in, let me check it and see if what you have at home would be appropriate.”

  1. Never Self-Diagnose

“Don’t treat yourself for red eyes,” Marioneaux says, or for other eye conditions you’re self-diagnosing. For minor concerns, if a condition does not improve in 24 to 48 hours, “then you should absolutely follow up with the [doctor] to make sure and identify what you have.” If you have more severe symptoms like vision loss, consult a doctor immediately.

  1. Always Do Research About What You are Taking

Always double-check the bottle in your hand before putting drops in your eye. “The worst mistake is actually confusing the eye drop with the ear drop, and vice versa,” Marioneaux says. “Some people will put ear drops in their eyes and sometimes that can be disastrous.”

  1. Use the Right Way of Getting Those Eye Drops In

“What I tell patients is if they put the drop in and they look on their face and there’s a drop that looks just like the drop they put in – that is the drop – so they should go ahead and put another one in so that they actually have the medicine in,” Marioneaux says. You should aim the drop in the outer – not inner – corner of the eye. “I tell [patients] if you put it in close to the nose, that’s where it goes,” she said. Rather than dabbing your eye with a tissue, place a clean finger gently where the eye meets the nose to keep drops from draining.

Contacts can interfere with absorption so, artificial tears aside, it’s usually a good idea to take them out before using drops. Read the instructions on medications carefully, and speak to your doctor if you have any questions.

Once the drop is in the eye, don’t blink excessively or rapidly. “Some people feel if they blink and move the eye around they’ll get better absorption. That’s false,” Marioneaux says. “You will pump the medication out of the eye, as opposed to moving it around.” Just blink normally; and if you can’t help blinking a lot, just close the eye for a minute or two.