How to Use Antibiotic and Anti-Inflammatory Eye Drops

How to administer antibiotic and anti-inflammatory eye drops

Administering or instilling medicinal eye drops safely and properly can be quite challenging especially if you are suffering from eye infection of inflammation.

Following are some useful hints, tips and steps that will ensure proper, sufficient and smooth delivery of the prescribed anti-inflammatory or antibiotic eye drops in your eyes (or eye).

Some general tips

  • First of all, never put any medication into your eyes unless the label clearly says "ophthalmic" (for eyes)".
  • Use the medication only in the eye it is prescribed for.
  • If you are using both eye drops and ointment, you should use the eye drops first.
  • To avoid contamination (or transmission of infection), you should never touch the nozzle of the dropper bottle and avoid contact with the eye.
  • Put prescribed number of drops inside the lower eyelid, not on the eyeball (unless advised otherwise).
  • Always follow the instructions on the prescription label.
  • Also follow your doctor's instructions.
  • Take your medication on time every time.
  • Never use drops after their permitted 'opened' expiry date.
  • If you use soft contact lenses, remove them before instilling eye drops and wait at least 15 minutes before re-inserting them.
  • Store eye drops at room temperature unless you are instructed otherwise.
  • Do not leave eye drops in direct sunlight. Some eye drops need to be kept refrigerated, but most, do not.
  • Relax and take your time for everything.

Steps for proper administration of eye drops

  1. Wash your hands carefully with soap and water.
  2. Shake the eye drops container or bottle well yet gently. This will thoroughly mix all the ingredients.
  3. Sit or lie down with your head tilted back.
  4. Remove the cap of the eye drop bottle or container. Place the dropper cap on its side, and rest it on a clean tissue.
  5. Avoid touching the dropper's tip with your hand or any object. Eye drops must stay clean and sterile (germ-free).
  6. Place the back of your thumb against your forehead, above the eye receiving the drop.
  7. Tilt your head backward with both eyes open, and look above at a point on the ceiling.
  8. Pull the lower lid away from the eye by pulling down with one finger or by pinching the lower lid and pulling outward with two fingers. This forms a pocket you can put a drop in.
  9. Position the tip of the eye drop bottle so that it does not come closer than ¾ inch above your lower lid.
  10. Quickly turn the bottle upside down.
  11. Holding the dropper bottle as upright as possible, rest your hand against your nose to position the bottle.
  12. Squeeze the bottle and let one drop fall into the pocket (Try to let the medicine fall from the bottle into the pocket. Do not let the bottle touch your eye).
  13. If your hands are shaking, try approaching your eye from the side and rest your hand on your face to steady it.
  14. Close your eye gently and put your finger at the corner of your eye next to your nose to stop the drops from draining into your eye duct.
  15. Keep your eye closed for couple of minutes whilst applying gentle pressure with your index finger to the inside corner of your closed eye near the nose. This will not only keep the drops in contact with your eye but will also prevent them from getting into your bloodstream through your tear duct. It will also prevent the medicine from going into the nose and throat and causing a "bad taste".
  16. While your eye still closed, move the eye in all directions.
  17. Put the cap back on the bottle.
  18. Blot around the eye with the clean tissue to remove any excess drops or tears.
  19. Re-wash your hands to get rid of any germs that you may have contacted during the process of instilling the eye drops.

Finally it is important to remember that some antibiotic or anti-inflammatory eye drops sting if the eye is inflamed. This lasts a minute or so, and will go away as the eye improves. While putting drops in your eye can be difficult at first, it gets a lot easier with practice and time.

Do you use antibiotic eye drops? Tell us your tips in the comments below on the best way to apply the drops.

Learn more about using antibiotic eye drops after LASIK surgery on our forums!