If you use eye drops to soothe your red, irritated or dry eyes, chances are you’re probably not using them correctly. What? How can that be? You just pop a few drops in your eyes and that’s it, right?
Eye drops, even over-the-counter (OTC) drops like Clear Eyes®, need to be used properly for optimal results. Even though it doesn’t require a prescription, it’s a product that needs to be used carefully, because your eyes are sensitive organs.
Let’s take a look at the right way to use eye drops for optimal relief.
Wash your hands
First thing’s first. Wash your hands before you start touching the eye drop bottle or your eyes. Antibacterial soap is the most effective method for killing germs on contact. The best technique for washing your hands is to lather them up, then rub the tops of your hands as well as between your fingers and under your nails for at least 20 seconds.
Check the expiration date
Another smart thing to do before you use a bottle of eye drops is to check the expiration date. Clear Eyes® products have the month, day and year clearly printed on the back of the bottle. The font is big enough to read, so you can tell exactly how long you can safely use that bottle.
Create a pocket for drops
Most people put eye drops in the inner corner of their eye, but that’s actually not the best placement. If you tilt your head back while you’re seated or lying down, you want to gently pull down your lower eyelid to create a “pocket” for the eye drops. When you get ready to squeeze the bottle, make sure you’re looking up.
Don’t transfer germs
When you start to administer your eye drops, tilt your head back, so each drop lands in the lower lid of your eye. It’s very important not to touch the tip of the bottle to your eye. That’s a quick way to transfer germs from your eye to the bottle or vice-versa. Plus, you don’t want to accidentally poke yourself in the eye with the tip of the bottle.
After you put the eye drops in your eyes, you should gently blink. That way your eyelids will naturally spread the eye drop across your eye. If you blink rapidly, you aren’t giving the eye drops as much time to lubricate your eyes.
Your eyelids hold a drop
Since your eyelids are only big enough to hold one drop of liquid, the rest will just run out of your eye. If you feel like you didn’t get the drop in the right spot, it’s okay to try again. It’s better to have excess eye drops roll out of your eye than to not administer enough to help.
Ask for help
Some people have a strong aversion to touching their eyes or self-administering drops. If this is the case, ask for help. Sometimes it helps if you lie down and have someone put the drop in the corner of your eye for you. Then you can turn your head and blink, and the drop should wash over your eye.
Rest your eyes
Once you administer 1-2 drops in each eye, it helps if you can close your eyes for a few minutes. That’s why a lot of people like to administer eye drops while lying down. Just a few extra minutes of keeping your eyes closed gives the active ingredients in the eye drops more time to soothe and lubricate your eyes.
Safe storage of eye drops
Clear Eyes® packaging also contains other helpful tips for optimal use. For example, you should store your eye drops at room temperature and avoid using the bottle if the pull-strip on the protective cap is broken or missing (the first time you use it).
A note about contact lenses
If you wear contacts, make sure you remove them before administering your eye drops. Some ingredients in lubricant eye drops can make your contacts blurry, which can be extremely annoying or even dangerous if you’re driving. You can also use eye drops formulated for contact lens wearers like Clear Eyes® Contact Lens Multi-Action Relief.
Have you been doing it wrong? (You’re not alone!) What’s the mistake you’ve been making when you use eye drops? Let us know in the comments section on our Clear Eyes® Facebook page.