How to Use Eye Meds

Follow these steps to get the best effects from your eye drops or eye ointment:

  • Wash your hands and the area around your eyes. Remove your contact lenses, unless you have been told it is okay to keep them in.
  • If the bottle says to shake well, gently roll the bottle in your hands for 30 seconds.
  • Tilt your head back. Make a pocket with your lower lid by pulling it away from your eye with your index finger (first image below) or by pinching it with your thumb and index finger (second image below). (For eye ointments, use the first method.)
  • Depiction of proper method
  • Look up before putting the drop or ointment in your eye. For drops, squeeze the bottle gently and let the medicine fall from the dropper into your eye. Apply ointments (1/4 to 1/2 inch strip) inside the lower eyelid using a sweeping motion. Do not touch the dropper or tip of tube against your eye or anything else.
  • If you have trouble using drops with the method above, lie down and place a drop in the inner corner of your closed eyelid. Open your eye slowly and allow the drop to roll into your eye.
  • After the drop or ointment is in your eye, release your lower lid. For drops, close your eyes gently for up to
    5 minutes (at least 1 minute) to let the medicine evenly cover your eye. For ointments, close your eye gently for 1 to 2 minutes. Do not rub your eyes.
  • If extra medicine comes out of your eye, gently blot it with a tissue. After applying an ointment, your vision may be blurred temporarily.
  • If you need to use more than one drop, wait at least 5 minutes before putting another drop in the same eye.
  • Replace the bottle or tube cap immediately after use. This keeps the medicine clean.
  • Wash your hands.
  • If you removed your contact lenses, wait about 15 minutes before putting them back in.

If you use both a suspension or gel-forming eye drop and a solution eye drop, use the solution eye drop first. Wait 5 minutes and then use the suspension or gel-forming eye drop. If you also use an eye ointment, use it last. Wait at least 10 minutes after applying your drops before using the ointment.

If you have trouble using eye drops, ask your pharmacist for advice. They may be able to recommend a device to help guide the drop to the eye, or to help you squeeze the bottle.

Keep eye drops and ointments out of reach of children. The containers are not child-resistant.

[This handout may not cover all possible information. It does not replace the need for professional medical care. Always follow the instructions from your healthcare provider.] [May 2018; 340505]

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