How to apply eye drops correctly

Written By Lesley Ball

March 24, 2020

Ensure that you’re getting the full benefit of your medication.

By Dr Veerle Van Tricht

Essential tips:

Wash your hands before putting in your eye drops.

Be careful not to let the tip of the dropper touch any part of your eye.

Make sure the dropper stays clean.

If you are putting in more than one drop or more than one type of eye drop, wait five minutes before putting the next drop in. This will keep the first drop from being washed out by the second before it has had time to work.

Store eye drops and all medicines out of the reach of children.

Steps for putting in eye drops:
  1. Wash your hands
  2. Start by tilting your head backward while sitting, standing, or lying down. With your index finger placed on the soft spot just below the lower lid, gently pull down to form a pocket.
  3. Look up. Squeeze one drop into the pocket in your lower lid. Don’t blink, wipe your eye, or touch the tip of the bottle on your eye or face.
  4. Close your eye. Keep closed for three minutes without blinking.

Note: Certain types of eye drops can sting when first applied.

Optional: Gently press on the inside corner of your closed eyes with your index finger and thumb for two to three minutes (to keep the drops from draining into your throat and getting into your system).

Blot around your eyes to remove any excess.

If you are having trouble getting the drops into your eye:

Try This. With your head turned to the side or lying on your side, close your eyes. Place a drop in the inner corner of your eyelid (the side closest to the bridge of your nose). By opening your eyes slowly, the drop should fall right into your eye.

If you are still not sure the drop actually got in your eye, put in another drop. The eyelids can hold only about one drop, so any excess will just run out of the eye. It is better to have excess run out than to not have enough medication in your eye.

Unless you are advised otherwise, do not wear contact lenses in the affected eye until the course of treatment has finished.


How to apply eye drops to another person:
  • Wash your hands
  • Gently pull the lower lid down
  • Squeeze the bottle until you see a drop fall into the eye
  • Ask the patient to blink once or twice, then dab the eye with a clean tissue
  • Wash your hands again

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