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using your eye drops


Your doctor may prescribe eye drops which may need to be used just for a few days, a few weeks or long-term. Always check if you're not sure.

how to store your eye drops

All eye drops are different and come with different storage instructions so do take a minute to read the included leaflet. This should also have useful information about the type of medication contained in the drops etc. Never leave eyedrops in direct sunlight or in very hot locations such as a car parked in the sun.

how to use your eye drops

The easiest way to put eye drops into your eye is to gently pull your lower eyelid down to make a little sac (practice this in the mirror) and drop 1 drop into it. Make sure the tip of the bottle does not touch any part of your eye or eyelashes as this can contaminate the contents. Dab any excess medication which comes out with your tears with a clean tissue. Avoid rubbing your eye itself.


If you're putting the drops in for someone else, you can apply the same technique. If its a struggle then get them to lie down (Fig. 2) and put the drop in. If they're still squeezing their eyes then place a drop in the inner corner of the closed eye and ask them to then open their eye and the medication will go in.

Figure 1. Putting eye drops in.

(Image courtesy of NIH National Eye Institute)

Figure 2. Putting eye drops in for someone lying down.

(Image courtesy of NIH National Eye Institute)

possible problems with eye drops

The main side effects are an allergy to the drops, gels, ointments and other medicines used to treat your eyes. These side effects include:


  • worsening red eyes

  • worsening sore eyes

  • eye or lid swelling

  • increased itchy eyes

  • mild stinging and blurred vision – which usually wears off a few minutes after use.


The side effects are similar to symptoms of other conditions like dry eyes. So, if you feel your symptoms are getting worse, please contact your nurse / doctor.

please remember

  • The manufacturer’s leaflet will give advice on how to use and store your artificial tears. This can be found inside the packaging of your medicines.

  • Most drops should be thrown away 28 days after opening the tube or bottle - some bottles last longer but check to ensure this is the case.

  • Tip: Write the date of opening on your bottle so you know when it should be discarded.

  • Single-dose preservative-free drops should be discarded after use.

  • Do not use any eye drops after their expiry date.

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