Apply your eye medications correctly

For some people, putting drops or any other product in their eyes is a big challenge. Because the eyes are so fragile, and above all essential, optimal use of the treatments intended for them allows us to keep an eye on their health. Here are some tips for this purpose.

EYE HEALTH: A PRIORITY

In a day, your eyes accomplish countless tasks without you even realizing it. The list of their skills goes on endlessly: performing a task that requires attention to detail, expressing an emotion, passing a message, spotting dangers, etc. Sometimes our eyes need a little help to perform their multiple functions; this is the case when their health is compromised.

The eyes can be affected by several diseases and, very often, these require treatments to be applied directly to them. These are treatments that are called “ophthalmic”. Such medications often come in the form of drops, gel or ointment. Knowing how to use them properly makes them much more effective and safe.

REASONS FOR USING OPHTHALMIC PRODUCTS

There are several medical reasons that may require ophthalmic treatments, such as:

  • dry eyes;
  • glaucoma;
  • an allergy (e.g.: seasonal allergies);
  • an infection;
  • the presence of inflammation;
  • an eye injury;
  • a surgery.

THE CONSEQUENCES OF MISUSE

The use of products intended for the eyes requires certain precautions so that the treatment is optimal and safe. Here are some examples of consequences that may result from improper use of these products:

  • a reduction in their effectiveness;
  • a loss of product (waste);
  • the occurrence of adverse effects;
  • injury to the eye (for example if caught with the end of the tube);
  • contamination of the product.

FOR MAXIMUM EFFICIENCY…

  • Carefully follow the recommendations of your pharmacist and doctor regarding dosage and methods of use.
  • Never use more drops than the recommended amount. However, if you think you have “lost” a drop (for example, if it has run down your cheek), apply another one.
  • Apply only one drop at a time. The capacity of the eye does not allow it to accommodate more than a drop; if you put more, the excess will be expelled and flow out of the eye. Wait five minutes between two drops of the same medicine.
  • If you have several different products to apply, wait five minutes between each.
  • In this context, ask your pharmacist to tell you the times and order in which your ophthalmic medications should be administered, as this is important.

PRECAUTIONS TO AVOID CONTAMINATION

Ophthalmic products are sterile until opened, meaning they are free of germs. Once opened, there is a greater risk that they will become contaminated. In addition, improper storage or exposure to less than optimal conditions can affect their quality. Here are some tips to avoid contamination and ensure that their quality is maintained:

  • When administering a product, avoid contact of the container tip (dropper, tube, etc.) with hands, eyes, skin or any other surface.
  • Close the container immediately after application.
  • Make sure that the product is not administered to another person if it is intended for you.

CONSERVATION OF OPHTHALMIC PRODUCTS

Here are some recommendations regarding proper storage:

  • Keep your products in a clean, cool place. Avoid places that tend to be humid or hot. The bathroom, car, or the cabinet above your stove are not good choices. Instead, opt for the drawer of your nightstand, for example.
  • Only store the product in the refrigerator if recommended by the manufacturer or your pharmacist.
  • Always check the expiration date of the product before using it. If it is expired, do not use it and return it to the pharmacy.
  • Ask your pharmacist to tell you the expiration date of the product once it is opened. Note the date it was opened and then the date on which the product is no longer good. Most of the time, you should not use the product more than one month after you started it.
  • Never throw an expired, unused or discontinued product in the trash or anywhere else. Instead, return it to the pharmacy; the laboratory staff will know how to dispose of it in a safe and environmentally friendly manner.

HOW TO PROPERLY APPLY YOUR EYE MEDICATIONS

Here is a description of the steps to follow to properly administer your medication:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. Dry them well with a clean cloth.
  • Stand in front of a mirror if seeing what you are doing helps.
  • Shake the product bottle if this has been recommended by your pharmacist.
  • Then open the container; avoid any contact of the tip of the container with the eye.
  • Tilt your head back slightly.
  • Gently pull the lower eyelid down to form a small pocket.
  • Look up.
  • Bring the container close to your eye.
  • Place the hand holding the container on the hand holding the eyelid for better stability.
  • If the product comes in drop form, place a single drop in the center of the lower eyelid.
  • Make sure the drop has been placed in the eye.
  • If the product is an ointment or gel, apply a thin layer all along the inside of the lower eyelid, starting near the nose and working toward the outside of the eye. Once you are finished applying the product, quickly close the container as the product may leak.
  • Close your eye gently. Keep it closed for 30 seconds to two minutes to allow better contact of the product with your eye.
  • Avoid rubbing or touching your eye unnecessarily after application.
  • Gently wipe away any excess product that has leaked with a clean tissue.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly to remove all traces of medication.

Note that you may experience some side effects after receiving eye medications, such as a slight burning, irritation, discomfort, or foreign body sensation. Your vision may also be blurred for a few minutes. These effects are usually short-lived.

ADDITIONAL TIPS

If you’re having trouble using an eye medication, you’re not alone. There are other things you can do to make things easier:

  • Ask someone you live with to give you the medicine. It is often easier to give it to someone else than to give it yourself.
  • Ask your pharmacist if there are devices to facilitate the use of your medication. Such products may be available in pharmacies.
  • If you need to give the medicine to a child, have him or her sit or lie on his or her back, which will make it easier.

Your pharmacist is probably the health professional best placed to advise you on the optimal and safe use of ophthalmic medications. Consulting him will help you see things more clearly!

Abbas Jahangir

I am a researcher and writer with a background in food and nutritional science. I am the founder of Foodstrend.com, our reputable online platform offering scientifically-backed articles on health, food, nutrition, kitchen tips, recipes, diet, and fitness. With a commitment to providing accurate and reliable information, we strive to empower our readers to make informed decisions about their health and lifestyle choices. Join us on Foodstrend.com's journey toward a healthier and happier lifestyle.

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