Tips and Assistive Devices for Effective Eye Drop Administration

applying eyedropsNumerous eye health conditions require treatment with eye drops. Depending on your symptoms and diagnosis, various formulations may be recommended by your health-care provider. Some eye drops are purchased over-the counter whereas others require a prescription.

While the use of eye drops to treat eye health problems might seem simple at first, many people find the use of eye drops more difficult in practice. Our BostonSight® PROSE patients are more than familiar with these challenges as most first-line treatments for eye conditions require the use of some type of eye drops. In fact, research has shown that even experienced eye drop users often are ineffective with their applications. Here are some helpful tips to ensure that you are using your drops safely and correctly and a few recommendations for assistive devices to overcome application challenges.

To best treat your condition, it’s important to use your eye drops as directed by your physician. The National Institutes of Health provides a detailed fact sheet with photos on the process of using eye drops correctly and offers these additional tips.

  • Prevent the eye dropper from touching your eye, lashes, eyelid, or fingers
  • Turn the bottle upside-down quickly to keep drops from leaking out
  • Avoid squeezing or blinking your eyes after putting in drops
  • Use a clean, separate tissue to blot each eye if needed
  • Try using a mirror or lying flat on your back to help get the drop in the eye
  • Ask a health-care provider to watch you administer the drops to verify you are using them correctly

Overall health status and other health conditions may add to the complexity of using eye drops. Poor vision, arthritis, tremors, neuropathies, and muscle weakness are just a few examples of physical challenges that further complicate the ability to self-administer eye drops. In these instances, assistive devices may be helpful in overcoming physical limitations. These aids include tools to provide for better grip and leverage for squeezing the bottle of drops, to help with guiding the drop into the eye, and to keep the eyelids open. If you are having difficulty putting in your drops, your health-care provider or pharmacy can offer advice on which kind of device might work best for you.

An interesting new technology under development and detailed in Review of Ophthalmology uses a spray device to deliver medications precisely and accurately to the eye. Included is an LED targeting mechanism allowing users to aim medication directly toward the cornea without needing to tilt the head. It offers greater advantages of sterility and minimizes the use of preservatives in eye medications. The developers of this device look forward to approval and commercialization of this product that could dramatically change the way topical eye medications are applied.

When multiple types of eye drops are prescribed and need to be used several times during the day, it can be difficult to keep track of which one to use when. A clearly written schedule can assist with tracking usage throughout the day. Another option is an automated reminder, such as the recently developed Eye Drops app that allows you to input different formulations and scheduling and receive reminders when it’s time to use the drops.

Do you have any tips for successful eye drop administration? Please share them here with us.