One of the more common questions we get in medical practice concerns the proper use of eye drops.

eye drops

We routinely use these for a number of conditions:

  • For surface infections (like “pink eye”) or a stye inside the lid: antibiotic drops.
  • For dry eyes: artificial tears for moisturizing, no prescription needed.
  • For Glaucoma and other diseases inside the eye, drugs like timolol or xalatan.
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Before using eye drops, consider the following:

1. Read the fine print: make sure the drops are within the stale-date, and they are stored at the proper temperature (some need refrigeration; none do well left in a hot car in the summer).

2. Once the seal has been broken, make sure the lid is tightly on; if the lid was loosely applied, or, worse yet, left off the bottle all day, then contamination could occur from air or touch.

3. Don’t keep half-used eye drops for longer than a month. Consider throwing them out if you find old ones rattling around in your cabinet or coat pockets. For dry eyes, this means that smaller bottles are better than huge ones.

4. Wash your hands.

5. Just aim for one drop at a time, as the second drop gets blinked out.


eye dropper

6. Never drop onto the eye itself, always aim for the “pocket” created by pulling out the lower lid. Much less chance of “flinching” or wasting the drop.

7. Don’t let the tip touch anything, including eyelashes, or skin, as this provides an easy source of germ contamination.

For more information, check out this video:

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