Close Your Eyes to Apply Eye Drops

For some people, “just use eye drops” is a simple recommendation, like “take a pill” or “use this lotion.” But some of us can’t “just” use eye drops; our eyes twitch or blink involuntarily, or we flinch and withdraw completely. I am one of those people and I am happy to report that there is a way to get drops anyway.

Easy way to use eye drops

I went through several allergy seasons with irritated eyes because I couldn’t reliably put drops in there even if I asked my husband to open my eyes and just make it happen. (I ended up with drops running down my face and not getting into my eyes.)

Then, one day, my preschool daughter needed eye drops. The pediatrician showed us a simple technique, which I wrote about here . And now I can confirm that it works just as well for adults – even for me.

Here’s the trick: you close your eyes when you apply the drop. Tilt your head back (or better still, lie down) and let the drop fall into the corner of your eye. Then, when you open your eye, the drop immediately comes into contact with your eyeball. Work is done.

For the first time, you may need a partner, but I have found that I can do it myself with the help of a mirror. I level the pipette with a mirror, then close my eyes and squeeze. I can tell when a drop is in my eyes because it stings a little; If you’re using a drop that you can’t feel, the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends chilling the bottle in the refrigerator so you can feel the coolness of the chilled drop in your eyes.

And yes, it’s safe. To be clear, you should never touch your eye or eyelid with the pipette tip or your fingers in the process. And it’s best to wash your hands before doing any eye care. But the thought of letting the eyedrop touch your eyelid on the way in is wonderful; AAO recommends this particular procedure for fidgety children and anxious adults.


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