Educating patients about applying eye drops is very important because applying eye drops correctly is one of the primary keys in treating various eye diseases. Often during the consultation, patients are not educated on how to use these eye drops, so therapy's success decreases.

Educating Patients How to Apply Eye Drops Correctly
Illustration How to Apply Eye Drops Correctly

Common Mistakes and Their Causes in Applying Eye Drops

Improper application of eye drops can lead to inefficient therapy, such as failure to instill into the eyeball area or dropping more than one drop peruse. Another mistake that can have side effects is touching the eyeball's surface or the adnexal area by the tip of the drug package, which puts the risk of contaminating the eye. Not closing the eyes and not performing nasolacrimal occlusion after dripping the drug can minimize the drug's systemic side effects.

There are some causes for errors in the use of drops, including:

  • Lack of knowledge on how to use eye drops properly,
  • Unconsciousness of possible errors in applying eye drops,
  • Limited the patient's physical capacity, such as weakness of the fingers or handgrips, or visual impairment due to age or due to the patient's illness

How to Apply Eye Drops

The approach to patient education needs to evaluate the various factors that can cause errors in drug administration in patients. 

Here are steps how to put in eye drops:
  1. Wash hands before applying eye drops
  2. Remove contact lenses (if the patient wears contact lenses), unless there are special instructions from the doctor not to need to remove contact lenses
  3. Unscrew the eye drop bottle without touching the dropper tip
  4. Tilt head slightly backward and look upward
  5. Gently form a sac by pinching or pulling down the lower lid
  6. Put one drop of the drug into the "bag" area, still not touching the dropper tip on the eyeball's surface
  7. Close eyes after the dropping to allow absorption, do not blink
  8. Press the nasolacrimal area for at least 1 minute
  9. Close the eye drop bottle again
  10. Give a time interval of at least 5 minutes before the next eye drops (if the patient uses more than one eye drop).

Using Media for Education

Doctors can use supporting media (such as video demonstrations of applying eye drops) to help patients understand and remember how to instill eye drops correctly. The patient's family can also be asked to evaluate the patient while at home regarding the drops' use.

If the patient has difficulty holding the small and relatively slippery eyedrop pack, it may be advisable to use a tissue paper fold to help hold the dropper bottle. In patients who continue to experience difficulties despite education and evaluation, it is advisable not to drip the medication with family or caregivers' help.

The correct application eye drops will ensure an increase in the effectiveness and efficiency of therapy of the eye's diseases. Also, the risk of contamination and side effects of using eye drops can be minimized. Education on how to use eye drops must take into account common errors, the individual patient's ability to administer medication, and must be followed by a detailed evaluation. During the consultation, the doctor must provide education as clearly as possible, if necessary, use supporting media such as video demonstrations to help patients understand and remember how to use eye drops correctly.