Eye Drops: Uses, Application Instructions, Recommendations and Precautions

Eye drops can treat a variety of eye problems.

For example, you can use eye drops prescribed by your doctor to treat an infection, a minor eye injury, or a condition such as glaucoma.

Or you can use over-the-counter eye drops to relieve dry or red eyes. Depending on why you are taking them, you may need to use eye drops for a short or long time.

No matter why you use eye drops, it is essential to use them correctly. The proper technique helps the medicine absorb into your eye so the treatment can do its job.

Here are step-by-step instructions on using the eye drops properly and efficiently.

What you will need to apply eye drops correctly.

In addition to the eye drops, you will need a hand sanitizer or soap and water to clean your hands. You may also need some tissues to clean the excess drops around your eyes.

Step-by-step application instructions

These instructions can help you put eye drops in your own eyes. If you are a parent or caregiver, these steps can also help you give drops to someone else.


If you have trouble putting drops in your own eyes, ask a family member or friend for help.


  • Gather your supplies. These include a bottle of eye drops, as well as a tissue or other cloth to wipe up the excess drops.
  • Please wash your hands with soap and water and dry them with a clean towel or paper towel. If soap and water are not available, you can use hand sanitizer.
  • Gently shake the bottle if directed on the label or by your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Remove the cap from the bottle and place it on its side on a clean surface.
  • Check the dropper tip to make sure it is clean. If it’s dirty, throw away the drop bottle and get a new one.

Application of eye drops

  • Tilt your head back or lie on your back. Pull your lower eyelid down with your finger to form a pouch or pocket where the eyedrop will go.
  • Hold the bottle over your eye, with the dropper tip pointing down. The end of the dropper should be as close to the eye as possible without touching it. You can support the hand holding the bottle by resting your wrist against your forehead.
  • Very gently squeeze the bottle so that a single drop falls into the bag you made with your lower eyelid.
  • Gently close your eye and lean your face toward the ground for two to three minutes. Avoid blinking, moving your eyeball, or squeezing your lids shut.
  • While your watch is closed, use a finger to apply gentle pressure to the inner corner of the eye. This prevents the medicine from draining your nostrils and your mouth or throat.
  • Use a tissue or other cloth to wipe any excess fluid around your eyes.

To end

  • If you need to put a second eye drop in the same eye, wait at least five to 10 minutes after placing the first drop.
  • Put the cap back on the bottle. Do not touch the dropper tip or try to clean it.
  • Wash your hands to remove any medicine on them.
  • Store the bottle as described on the label or your doctor or pharmacist.

What to do (recommendations)

Know how long you can safely use your eye drops once you open the bottle. For prescription eye drops, ask your pharmacist about the expiration date.

If you are using two eye medications, use them in the correct order. If you use both an eye solution and an eye suspension, use the solution first.

Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you the difference between these medications. If you are using eye drops and an eye ointment, use the eye drops first. Then apply the cream at least 10 minutes later.

Please understand that it is normal for some liquid to flow on the skin around the eyes after using an eye drop. This does not mean that you need another drop.

What not to do (precautions)

Do not let the dropper tip touch your eye or any other surface.

If the tip of the dropper touches a surface, it could accumulate bacteria or other germs that could cause an eye infection.

Do not wear contact lenses while applying medicated eye drops unless authorized by your doctor or pharmacist.

Wait at least 15 minutes after using the drops before putting on contact lenses. However, if you use moisturizing eye drops with contacts, you don’t need to wait.

Do not share eye drops with another person. Sharing drops could spread germs and infections.

Talk to your doctor.

To help your eye drops work well, follow these directions and the directions on the eye drop label or from your doctor or pharmacist.

These steps should help you use your prescription or over-the-counter eye drops quickly and safely. If you have any questions about using your eye drops, ask your doctor or pharmacist.