How to use eye drops in children and adults may be different and more difficult than one thinks. Many patients with eye disorders, such as glaucoma and dry eye syndrome, require the use of eye drops as a part of the ophthalmic treatment to prevent further eye damage. Instilling your eye drops properly can be critical to preserving and protecting your long term eye health. The eye doctors at Fort Worth Eye Associates have provided the following tips to assist our pediatric and adult ophthalmology patients that require ophthalmic treatment for eye disorders.
There are 2 processes that have to occur to have successfully instilled eye drops:
- Placing the eye drops onto the eye surface
- Absorption of the medications into the eyeball
Important Considerations with Eye Drops
- Many people find that keeping eye drops cold (in the refrigerator) enables them to confirm that the eye drops actually enter the eye.
- If you use more than one type of eye drop, wait 3-5 minutes after the first application to allow the medication to disperse before using a second type of eye drop.
- Maximize effectiveness and minimize systemic side effects: Eye drops have fewer side-effects than oral medications because of less absorption. To lessen the amount absorbed, follow Step 9 below, that is blocking the drainage of the drug into the nose.
Technique for Eye Drop Instillation
These steps will help you successfully instill your eye drops:
- Always wash your hands prior to putting in eye drops. Clean hands will reduce the risk of eye infection and contamination of eye drops.
- Tilt your head back.
- Pull down your lower eyelid with the index finger of one hand in order to form a pocket inside the eyelid.
- Hold the open eye drops in the other hand between the index finger and thumb.
- Hold the bottle as vertical as possible one inch from the eye.
- Resting the hand holding the eye drops on the hand pulling the eyelid, gently squeeze the eye drop bottle until you feel the eye drop hit the pocket of the eyelid. Try not to let the bottle tip touch the eye or your hands.
- Do not worry if 2 eye drops enter the eye, as the second drop will wash away the first. If the drop lands on the eye rather than in the eyelid pocket, you may feel less comfortable, but the process will not hurt the eye.
- After the drop is dispensed, slowly allow the lower eyelid to return to position.
- Close your eyes gently rather than blinking quickly or squeezing the eyes shut, as these activities can force out the medication.
- To allow the medicine to be absorbed into the eye, gently press the inner corner of the eyelid for 2 minutes to prevent drainage into the nose. The lacrimal punctum are the holes in the eyelids that drain into the tear duct drainage system that leads to the nose where drug absorption occurs more readily into the bloodstream.
How to Use Eye Drops in Children
Instilling eye drops in children will depend on their cooperation. The best tip is to rest your palm on their forehead so as the child moves so does your hand holding the eye dropper.
- Lay them on their back on carpeted floor (solid surface) to prevent movement
- Try with the child sitting and head tilted back.
- It is always good to have another person to help prevent movement
- Wrap the child in a blanket to keep their arms and legs still
- Follow the technique “Best Technique on How to Use Eye Drops in Children and Adults”
What are Eye Drops?
Eye drops are saline-containing drops that may or may not have medications in the solution. Some are used for lubrication or tear replacement (artificial tears). Medicated eye drops may contain:
- Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS)
- Beta Receptor Blockers
- Topical Anesthetics
Please keep your eye drops in a safe place.
If you feel you need more instructions about instilling eye drops, please ask our pediatric eye specialists. Please call our Fort Worth office at 817-732-5593 or our Weatherford office at 817-341-1600 to make an appointment.