The goal:
Follow doctor’s orders and nurse’s instructions to use eye drops on time and correctly to ensure drug efficacy.

Patients diagnosed with eye diseases or disorders and undergoing medication treatments.

Commonly-used Eye Drop Medication:

  1. Antibiotic eye drops: This kind of eye drops is mainly used to treat eye infections. Overuse would lead to drug resistance. Commonly-used antibiotic eye drops include Cravit, Chloramphenicol, Gentamicin, and Vigamox.
  2. Steroid eye drops: This kind of eye drops is used to treat symptoms including eye inflammations, conjections, angiogenesis, and fibroplasia. Long-term usage would lead to increased intraocular pressure. Commonly-used steroid eye drops include Pred-Forte, Fluorometholone, and Rinderone-A.
  3. Eye drops for reducing eye pressure: This kind of eye drops is used to reduce eye pressure by reducing aqueous humor production or increasing drainage from the eye. Commonly-used eye drops include Cosopt, Timoptol-XE, Pilocarpine, Alphagan, and Xalatan. Cosopt and Timoptol-XE are Beta blockers, which may cause side effects such as dyspnea, bronchospasm, bradycardia, arrhythmia, or low blood pressure. The patients with asthma, COPD, or heart disease should use these medication under the doctor’s instructions.
  4. Mydriatic eye drops: This kind of eye drops is used before a fundus examination or after an eye operation to prevent pupil adhesion. It will affect smooth muscle and lacrimal glands, which cause pupil dilation and ciliary muscles paralysis. The usage of mydriatic eye drops may cause temporarily blurred vision. Users should be careful with ones’ steps after using this medication. Commonly-used eye drops include Atropine, Mydriacyl, and Phenylephrine.
  5. Artificial tear and lubricant eye drops: This kind of eye drops is used to moisturize the cornea and reduce the symptom of dry eye syndrome. Commonly-used eye drops include Duratears, Refresh Tears, Tear Naturale, and Artelac.
  1. Check your eye drop medication. Discard the eye drop medication if they are deteriorated, color changed or expired and then get a new one.
  2. Wash your hands with soap and water.
  3. How to apply eye drop medication:
    1. For suspension eye drop medication, please shake it 10 times before use to ensure the concentration of eye drop medication is even.
    2. Sit with your head tilted back or lay down and look upwards. Pull your lower eyelid down with your finger to form a pouch and put an eye drop in the pouch (If the drop cannot fall right into the pouch, you may place it in the inner canthus) (figure 1)
    3. The maximum volume that the conjunctival sac can hold is about one eye drop.Thus, one eye drop per time is enough.
    4. Remove your finger from the lower eyelid. Close your eye for a while. Do not squeeze your eye shut. Otherwise, the eye drop may be leaked out and lose their effectiveness.
    5. Press on the inner corner of your closed eye gently with a cotton ball for one minute (figure 2).This stops the medication from draining into your nasal and tear duct.
    6.  If you are using two different eye drop medications in one eye simultaneously, wait 8  to 10 minutes between each medication. If you're using both an eye solution and an eye suspension, use the solution first. Then use the suspension.
  4. How to apply eye ointment:
    1. Sit with your head tilted back or lay down and look upwards. Pull your lower eyelid down with your finger to form a pouch. Squeeze a small amount of ointment inside your lower eyelid. Be careful not to touch the tip of  the tube to the eye or eyelid.
    2. Close your eyes.
    3. If you are using both an eye drop and an eye ointment in one eye simultaneously, use the eye drop first, wait 8 to 10 minutes then use the eye ointment.
    4. It is normal if you have blurred vision temporarily after ointment usage. Do not use ointment before driving. It is better to apply ointment prior to going to bed.
Other Instructions:
  1. Keep the eye drop medication clean, especially the tip. Do not let the tip of the tube touch the eyelashes, eyelid, or fingers. Remove the cap of the eye drop medication. The cap of the eye drop medication should be placed flatwise on a clean table or tissue.
  2. To prevent cross-contamination, do not share your eye medications with others.
  3. Store your eye medications at room temperature and away from direct sunlight. Avoid placing eye medications in your pockets or car, in case the rising temperature affects their efficacy. Some eye medications should be stored in a refrigerator (not freezer).
  4. Do not stop using the eye medications arbitrarily. Regular follow-up is necessary to monitor response to the medication treatment. Please consult your ophthalmologist or nurses immediately with any concerns you may have.
  5. You should go to the doctor immediately if your eyes are uncomfortable. Never buy OTCs from a drugstore on your own, as misusing medications might lead to side effects or even irrecoverable sequela.
Figure 1 Appling the eye drop medicaiton 
 Figure 2  Press on the inner corner of your closed eye gently with a cotton ball for one minute
  1. Davies, I., Williams, A. M., & Muir, K. W. (2017). Aids for eye drop administration. Survey of Ophthalmology, 62(3), 332-345.
  2. Jayanetti, V., Sandhu, S., & Lusthaus, J. A. (2020). The latest drugs in development that reduce intraocular pressure in ocular hypertension and glaucoma. Journal of Experimental Pharmacology, 12, 539-548. eCollection 2020.
  3. Lampert, A., Bruckner, T., Haefeli, W. E., & Seidling, H. M. (2019). Improving eye-drop administration skills of patients–A multicenter parallel-group cluster-randomized controlled trial. PLOS ONE, 14(2), 1-13.
  4. Lindauer, A., Sexson, K., & Harvath, T. A. (2017). Teaching caregivers to administer eye drops, transdermal patches, and suppositories. The American Journal of Nursing, 117(5), S11-S16.
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