It is important to instil eye drops correctly as a considerable amount may drain from the eye via the tear duct to the nose and the throat, eventually being absorbed into the bloodstream. Depending on the medication being used, this can result in side effects such as shortness of breath, anxiety, depression, heart palpitations or even an asthma attack.
To minimise the risk of side effects, after instilling eye drops, gently press your finger over the drainage canal openings (tear ducts) with your eyes closed for two minutes. This simple action will reduce the unwanted absorption of the eye drop into the blood by about two-thirds.
12 Steps to Correctly Instil Eye Drops
1. Wash your hands
2. You may be more comfortable instilling your eye drops sitting or lying down.
3. Carefully remove the cap of the eye drop container, ensuring the tip of the container doesn’t touch anything
4. Tilt your head back and look up
5. Gently pull the lower eyelid away from the eye to form a pocket or pouch
6. Position the tip of the container directly over this region. Hold the container as vertically as possible
7. Gently squeeze the container. Try to allow only one drop to fall onto the inside of the lower eyelid. If you are not sure the drop entered the eye, you may immediately instil another
8. Keeping your head tilted back, look down, then release the eyelid and close your eye without blinking or squeezing the eyelid or rolling the eye around
9. Press the tip of your finger against the inside corner of the closed eye, applying gentle pressure over the drainage canal opening. You can now lift your head back to a normal, relaxed position while continuing to put pressure over the drainage canal opening for at least two minutes. If you taste the drop you are not blocking your drainage canal opening properly.
10. Gently wipe off any excess medication that may have spilt onto your face with a clean disposable tissue or cotton make-up pad
11. Repeat steps 4 to 10 if you need to instil an eye drop in the opposite eye
12. If you have a number of different eye drops to administer, leave at least 5 minutes between each different drop.
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