Tips for Taking Glaucoma (and Other) Eye Drops

By Ira Marc Price, O.D.

One of the reasons people cite for not following through with their prescribed treatment regimen for glaucoma is that it is difficult to put in their eye drops. If you have difficulty with eye drops, here are a few tips for getting them in your eyes instead of on your cheeks:

a man taking eye drops
  • Keep your eye drops in the refrigerator. (Note: Most eye drops are fine to store at temperatures between 40 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit once they are opened.) This way, you can feel the cool drop as it falls onto your skin. If you are using a gel-based eye drop, then keeping it cool may make it difficult to squeeze out the drop. These drops are best kept at room temperature.
  • Initially, you might want to practice these techniques with artificial tears instead of using your actual eye drop medication.
  • Wash your hands before putting in your eye drops.
  • Be careful not to let the tip of the dropper touch any part of your eye.
  • Make sure the dropper stays clean.
  • If you are putting in more than one drop, wait at least two to five minutes before putting in the next drop. This will prevent the first drop from being washed out by the second.
  • If the instructions say "Shake well before using," this is the time to do it.
  • Start by lying down flat. Position the dropper directly over your eye and then close your eyes. Place a drop in the inner corner of your eyelid (the side closest to your nose). By opening your eyes slowly, the drop should fall right into your eye.
  • Close your eyes gently and wait a few moments.
  • Gently blot around your eyes to remove any excess.

Adaptations to Help with Eye Drops

  • The Autodrop Eye Drop Guide holds the eye open and directs the drop, allowing for an accurate dosage. It is easily attached to any eye drop bottle. The attached cap closes the bottle when not in use. The Autodrop is reusable after cleaning. It is available from Maxiaids.com.
  • The Autosqueeze Eyedrop Bottle Squeezer adds "levers" around the bottle to make squeezing easier and more controlled for persons with reduced grip strength, arthritis, or injury. The Autosqueeze fits snugly around the neck of most small plastic dispensing bottles, does not interfere with the cap opening and closing, and transfers easily to other bottles when needed. It is available from Maxiaids.com.

Additional Information

You can find more information about managing a variety of medications after vision loss at Medication Management, Organization, and Labeling.

For additional patient-centered information about glaucoma detection, treatment, and everyday management, see VisionAware's Patient's Guide to Living with Glaucoma and Guía del Paciente: Vivir con Glaucoma.

Personal Stories

  • Joe Lovett
    Meet advocate and filmmaker Joe Lovett, director of Going Blind, a documentary film created to increase public awareness of blindness, vision loss, and the vision rehabilitation system. It is also Joe's personal story of his struggle with glaucoma.

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