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Do’s and Don’ts of Using Eye Drops

Whether you're managing an eye condition or a common type of irritation, it's important to use eye drops properly to maintain eye health. Find out if you are using them the right way.

Eye Disorders By Ariba Khaliq / Aug 14, 2014

Using Eye Drops Properly

Eye drops are essential for maintaining proper eye health. They treat dryness, allergies, infections and even glaucoma. They should be a part of every medicine cabinet. If used excessively or wrongly, over-the-counter eye drops can pose a risk to your eyes. The American Academy of Ophthalmology says that high quantity is not necessarily better, proper technique is. Image Courtesy: Getty


Mind the Quantity

Most people are in the habit of putting too many drops in the eye at once. Your eye actually has the capability to hold only one eye drop at once. So, the many others that you’re putting are just rolling down your face and getting wasted. If you are instructed to put four drops every six hours, it doesn’t mean you have to put all those four drops at one time. This could lead to poor eye health and a second prescription. Image Courtesy: Getty


Don’t Mix Two Different Drops

Space out two different eye drops that you may have been prescribed. Keep a 30-minute window between your prescription and non-prescription drugs. Two different kinds can interact and cause burning sensation and watery eyes. This reduces their effectiveness. If your doctor has prescribed an eye drop that has to be used only once a day, you can apply others any other time during the day, leaving enough time in between. Image Courtesy: Getty


Track Your Dosage

Don’t miss your dosage but don’t overdo it too. Time your doses to an existing routine, according to when you take other medications and set an alarm on your smart phone or other device as a reminder. Only people with a serious condition like glaucoma who can’t remember if they used their eye medicine can put one extra drop to be safe. Others should stick to their dosage strictly. Image Courtesy: Getty


Don’t Skip Drops for Appointments

Unless your doctor has instructed otherwise, you should use your eye drops even on the day of your exam. The purpose of that exam would be to see if the drops are working. Image Courtesy: Getty


Be Careful about Expiry Date

When you are getting your prescription filled, check the expirations date of your eye drops to make sure it won’t run out during your treatment. An expired eye drop may not be safe for using and in case you have left over drops after your treatment has ended, keep them in a safe place. If an eye drop is causing problem upon using it, don’t keep indiscriminately using it, speak to your doctor about it. Image Courtesy: Getty


Don’t Self-diagnose

Most people think they can handle red eye and they start self-diagnosing. Don’t do that and seek medical help if a minor condition doesn’t improve within 24 to 48 hours. Your doctor is the best person to diagnose what you have. Image Courtesy: Getty


Distinguish Between Eye Drops and Ear Drops

Always double-check the bottle in your hand before putting drops in your eye. The worst mistake is actually confusing the eye drop with the ear drop, and vice versa. Some people will put ear drops in their eyes and sometimes that can be disastrous. Image Courtesy: Getty


The Right Way to Put Eye Drops

The right way to put an eye drop is to aim for the outer and not inner corner of the eye. Putting the drop close to your nose, that’s where it will go. Rather than dabbing your eye with a tissue, place a clean finger gently where the eye meets the nose to keep drops from draining. Image Courtesy: Getty


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