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How to Instill Eye Drops

By Andrew Holzman on October 29, 2018

LASIK surgery is highly effective at correcting vision in people with astigmatism, nearsightedness, and farsightedness. After LASIK surgery, patients use medicated eye drops to prevent infection and improve healing.

Here, Dr. Andrew E. Holzman explains how to instill eye drops. For more information, we welcome you to schedule a consultation at our Washington, DC practice.

Preparing to Instill Eye Drops

The very first step to instilling eye drops is to wash your hands. Once the hands are clean, you may open the bottle of eye drops.

Get Into Position

The next step to instilling eye drops is to get into position. Sitting down is recommended to avoid losing balance. Once comfortably seated, tilt your head back and look up. Gently pull your lower eyelid down, being careful not to touch your eye.

Next, take the open bottle of eye drops and hold the dropper over your eye. Bring the dropper as close to the eye as possible without touching the eye, eyelid, eyelashes, or other areas. In addition, do not to touch the dropper with your fingers, as this can contaminate the eye drops.

Administering the Eye Drops

Once the dropper is in place and the head is tilted back, squeeze the dropper firmly enough to release one drop of fluid onto the eye. You should aim for the lower pocket of the eyelid, which is the space created by gently pulling down the lower eyelid.

Only instill one drop of medication in your eye, unless otherwise instructed. For most people, instilling more than one drop at a time will simply cause the medication to flow off of the eye.

After the eye drops are placed, let go of your lower eyelid and close your eye for 30 seconds. Closing the eye helps the eye drop evenly distribute. Avoid blinking the eyes as this can force the solution out of the eye.

Gently dab away any excess drop with a fluffed up tissue using very light pressure applied straight toward the eye. Do not apply upward, downward, or sideward pressure.

Once the eye drops have been administered, replace the lid and close the bottle.

Other Tips

Instilling eye drops is a simple process, but here are some more tips to help.

Use Eye Drops as Directed

Whether using prescription or over-the-counter eye drops, it is important to follow instructions and use the eye drops only as directed.

For example, if the eye drops are prescribed to be used once every two hours, do not instill the eye drops more often. Likewise, an eye drop that is to be administered once every two hours should not be instilled more than two hours apart.

Avoid Contamination

Avoiding contamination is crucial when placing eye drops within the eye. If the hands aren't clean or the eye drops are contaminated, bacteria from the hands or contaminated eye drops can transfer to the eyes, potentially causing an eye infection.

In order to avoid contamination, the hands should be washed thoroughly with soap before instilling eye drops. When washing the hands, care should be taken to clean between the fingers and under the nails. It's also important to lather the hands with soap for a full 20 seconds to ensure the hands are properly cleaned.

Although it's not common for eye drops to become contaminated, touching the bottle where the drops come out with your fingers may introduce bacteria into the eye drops. If this occurs, a new bottle of eye drops should be obtained to avoid risking an eye infection.

Schedule a Consultation

If you have questions about instilling eye drops or would like to learn more about LASIK and other vision correction treatments, please call (202) 785-2435 to schedule a consultation.

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