How to take your eye drops

By H. George Tanaka, MD, Glaucoma Specialist at The Eye Institute


1) Stand in front of a mirror or lie down on your bed or sofa.


2) Use your finger to pull your lower eyelid down.


3) Place only one drop of medication on the pink area inside your eyelid.


4) Do the same for the other eye if you’re using the drop in both eyes.


5) Close your eyes as long as your doctor instructs.


6) With your thumb and index finger gently press the tiny bumps in the inside corners of your eyes near your nose.


7) Take a deep breath and relax for up to three minutes.


8) If you have to put in a second medicine or a lubricating drop, wait five minutes between drops to avoid dilution.


By closing your eyes and pressing the inside corners of your eyes, you block the ducts that carry the eye drops into your nasal passages. This prevents your eye drops from getting into the bloodstream and causing side effects in the rest of your body. This maneuver is called punctal occlusion and should be performed after every eye drop.


Remember one drop is more than enough. If you feel the drop go in your eye, it went in. Don’t put in extra drops “for good measure!” Although this probably won’t harm your eye, you’re wasting the medicine. Some patients store their drops in the refrigerator to make them cold. That way, when they put the drops in their eyes, they can really feel if the drop went in.