Many eye problems are treated with
eyedrops or eye ointments, and sometimes with both.
Even though drops and ointments are
widely used, many people don't know the best way to put them in. But with a
little preparation, you can comfortably and easily put drops or ointment in
your eyes or someone else's.
Eyedrops and eye ointments can deliver medicine
directly to your eyes, keep your eyes moist, and help with redness, itching,
It is important to be sure the dropper or tube is
clean. Do not let it touch the eye, eyelid, lashes, or any surface. This will
keep it free from bacteria.
Do not use more drops or ointment than
If you have questions about this information, take it
with you when you visit your doctor.
How to use eyedrops or eye ointment
Take these safety precautions when you use eyedrops or
Wash your hands well before and after you
insert the drops or ointment. If you have disposable medical gloves, wear them
when you put eyedrops or eye ointments into someone else's eyes. Even if you
wore gloves, wash your hands afterward.
Be sure the dropper or
tube is clean and does not touch the eye, eyelid, lashes, or any surface. This
is to keep it free from bacteria. Eyedrops or ointments that get bacteria in
them can easily spread the bacteria to the eye and cause an
If the dropper is separate from the bottle and touches
the eye, do not put the dropper back in the bottle. Buy a new dropper at a
Do not use anyone else's drops or
If you have an eye infection, do not wear contact lenses
while you are using eyedrops or eye ointments unless your doctor has told you
it is okay.
them exactly as directed. Make sure you understand the directions, and do not
use the drops or ointment longer or in larger amounts than your doctor tells
you to. This can hurt your eyes.
If your doctor prescribed one
type of eyedrop or eye ointment to treat one problem, do not use the same
medicine to treat a different problem.
For older children and adults: While tilting
your head back, pull the lower eyelid down with one or two fingers to create a
small pouch. Gently squeeze the dropper to put 1 to 2 eyedrops (or the number of drops your doctor told you) in the pouch. Close
the eye for 30 to 60 seconds to let the drops absorb.
children: Have the child lie down with the eyes closed. Place an eyedrop in the
inner corner of the closed eye. When the eye opens, the drop will run
If you are putting more than 1 drop in your eye, wait at least 5 minutes between eyedrops. This helps prevent flushing away or diluting the first drop.
If you are using both eyedrops and eye ointment, put the eyedrop in at least 10 minutes before the ointment.
For older children and adults: Pull the lower eyelid down with
one or two fingers to create a pouch. Put a thin line of ointment in the pouch.
Close the eye for 30 to 60 seconds to let the ointment absorb.
younger children, have the child lie down with eyes closed. Pull the lower
eyelid out to create a pouch. Put a thin line of ointment in the pouch. With
the child's eyes closed, ask the child to move his or her eyeball from side to
side to move the ointment around the eye.
Eye ointment can cause
some temporary blurring of vision.
Using a mirror may make it easier to see what
you are doing.
ByHealthwise Staff Primary Medical ReviewerKathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine Specialist Medical ReviewerChristopher J. Rudnisky, MD, MPH, FRCSC - Ophthalmology
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