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Your Sight
Healthy Living, Healthy Vision

Eye Drops: How to Use Eye Drops Safely

These simple steps and tips for putting drops in your eyes will help you prevent infection and get more of the medicine into your eyes where it can do its work.

How to Take Eye Drops

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Eye drops are used to treat many different eye conditions, including:

an eye drop medicine bottle

Steps for Taking Eye Drop Medicine

washing hands before touching an eye drop bottle

1. Wash your hands with water and soap.

Checking the expiration date on an eye drop bottle

2. Check your eye drop bottle to make sure it is not expired.

Removing the cap of an eye drop medicine bottle carefully.

3. Remove the cap carefully, avoiding touching the inside of the cap to prevent contamination, and place to the side.

a recliner chair

4. Sit on a reclined chair or lie down.

patient pulling his lower eyelid down with his finger, preparing to put eye drop medicine in his eye

5. Pull your lower lid down with your finger, tilt the bottle down, gently squeeze the bottle, and then place a drop in your eye. Don’t let the tip of the bottle touch your eye or face.

patient pulling down lid, getting ready to take eye drop medicine

6. Repeat for the other eye (if needed).

a patient carefully placing the cap back on an eye drop medicine bottle

7. Place the cap back on the bottle carefully and wipe any excess drops from your face with a clean tissue.

a clock

8. If you are using different eye drop medications in the same eye, wait the appropriate amount of time between doses as instructed by your doctor.

More Tips for Taking Your Eye Drops

a close up of a man with close eyes, and red around his eyes

Some eye drops may burn, such as those prescribed for glaucoma, and this is normal. This can help you know that you got the drop in your eye.

an alarm reminder on a smart phone

Use reminder applications (apps) on your smart phone or device or use an alarm to help you remember to take your eye drops at the right time each day.

a person pulling carry-on luggage

Bring eye drops with you when you’re traveling. Try not to miss any doses!

an assistive device to give extra leverage when squeezing an eye drop bottle

Devices are available if your hands shake or you have trouble squeezing the eye drop bottle. Talk to your eye doctor about these options.

an individual watching her companion put eye drop medication in his eyes

Have a loved one watch you use your eye drops so they can let you know if you are using it correctly.

an eye doctor talking to her patient

If you experience itching or redness around your eye after using eye drops consistently, be sure to let your eye doctor know.

Talk to your eye doctor if you have any questions or concerns about possible side effects of your eye drop medication.

a plastic bag for holding eye drop medicine bottles

Bring your eye drops with you to your eye doctor appointments to make sure you are taking the doses correctly.

a refridgerator

Store your eye drops as directed by your eye doctor and directions on the bottle.

Avoid Common Eye Drop Mistakes

night and day

Space out your eye drop doses according to your doctor’s instructions. For example, if you are instructed to take eye drops twice a day, space them out twelve hours apart.

timers set for 5 and 10 minues

Wait 5-10 minutes between drops to let the eye absorb the fluid.

an eye, a contact lens, a timer

Remove contact lenses before using eye drops. Wait about 15 minutes after using the eye drops to put your contact lenses back in.

Fact Sheets to Print and Share

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More Resources for Glaucoma Patients

The Glaucoma Community

The Glaucoma Community is a FREE online community where you can learn about glaucoma, connect with others with glaucoma, and keep your health organized.

Sign Up Today

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Glaucoma Financial Assistance Information

The Glaucoma Financial Assistance Information provides is a list of organizations and companies that provide financial assistance for your glaucoma care.

Find resources

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Learn more about preventing vision loss from glaucoma.


More Resources for Dry Eye Patients

a woman experiencing dry eye symptoms

Dry eye is often misdiagnosed and can cause damage to the front of the eye. If you think that you may have dry eye you should visit an eye care professional for a full eye examination.

Understanding Dry Eye

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