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How to use eye drops*

For adults

Wash your hands well with soap and water for at least 30 seconds to remove any dirt or bacteria that may be on your hands.
If you wear glasses or contact lenses, remove them.
If your eye drops need to be shaken before using, shake the bottle now. (Check with your pharmacist to see whether your eye drops need to be shaken.)
Remove the cover from the eye drop container. Do not touch anything with the tip of the container.
Tilt the head back or lie down.
With your eyes open, gently pull the lower lid (holding it below the eyelashes) away from the eye to form a pouch.
Hold the eye drop container near the eyelid. Be sure not to touch the tip of the container to the eye, or to any other surfaces. Touching the tip of the container could contaminate it with bacteria. This is also true for the cover of the container.
Look toward the ceiling. This helps prevent blinking.
Squeeze the bottle gently to instill one drop into the pouch.
Look down for several seconds to bring the eye into contact with the drop. Then slowly release the lower lid.
Close the eyes gently for at least 30 seconds and up to 5 minutes. Do not squeeze the eyelids together or rub the eyes – this could push the drops out of the eye. Try not to blink. Apply gentle pressure to the corners of the eyes at the bridge of the nose to prevent the medication from draining into your tear duct. If you have had recent eye surgery, ask your eye doctor whether you should apply this pressure or not.
Use a clean tissue to blot away excess medication. Do notrub the eyes.
If you are using more than one drop, wait about 3 to 5 minutes between drops. This keeps the drops from diluting each other or flushing each other out.

For children

Wash your hands well with soap and water.
Have the child sit facing you, with their head tilted backward and eyes closed.
Remove the cover from the eye drop container.
Rest the hand holding the container on the child’s cheek. Approach the child’s eye slowly from the side. This helps to prevent eye injury in case the child moves suddenly.
Pull the lower lid down. Instill the drop through the eyelashes. Remember not to touch the tip of the container to the eyelashes. Or, place the drop on the eyelid in the inner corner of the eye. Then, have the child open the eye, and the drop will fall in.
Take care not to touch the tip of the eye drop container to the eye, eyelid, eyelash, or any other surface. This could contaminate the eye drop container with bacteria.

For infants or very young children

Wash your hands well with soap and water.
Have the child sit on your lap, facing you. Slowly lower the child down into a lying position (support the child’s head and back as you do this). Hold the child’s head with one hand and instill drops with the other on the same side as you are holding the head. In cases where the child is not cooperating, you can wedge the feet under your arms, and hold the head gently between your legs. You can also get a third person to help.
Pull the lower lid down and instill the drop through the eyelashes. Remember not to touch the tip of the container to the eyelashes.
Take care not to touch the tip of the eye drop container to the eye, eyelid, eyelash, or any other surface. This could contaminate the eye drop container with bacteria.
If you are having a hard time getting an entire drop into the eye, remember that it is better to get some liquid into the eyelids or lashes (this will allow at least some of the medication to reach the eye) than not to give the eye drops at all.

For people with hand tremors or arthritis

Using eye drops may be hard for you because it requires a steady hand and good dexterity. Here are some options:

Have someone instill the drops for you, using the first method described above.
Ask your doctor or pharmacist about devices to help you give yourself eye drops. These include plastic supports to rest the dropper on, a system of mirrors, or a squeezing device for the bottle.

*Many different medications come as eye drops. This information is intended to provide general instructions for the use of eye drops. Specific instructions may vary for different products. If these instructions are different from those given by your doctor or pharmacist, check with your doctor or pharmacist to confirm how you should be using the product. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for specific information.

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