If you are suffering from dry eyes, allergies, eye infections or even glaucoma, then you are probably no stranger to eye drops. Being one of the most common drugs found in medicine cabinets around the world, eye drops are popular, but they are also more popularly, misused! Believe it or not, even over-the-counter drops may pose a risk if they are applied wrongly1.
When it comes to your personal protection, you don’t want to wonder if you are using it correctly, do you? With Life Alert Protection, you never have to worry over if, what, when or how. By simply wearing their emergency pendant around your neck or wrist, you can summon an emergency medical response fast with one touch of a button! No matter what life threatening emergency you may face, Life Alert can guarantee quick, 24/7, service.
Your eyes are not deceiving you; independent living can be made simple and safe with Life Alert Protection! However, when trying to manage an eye condition or irritation, it is important to use your eye drops properly to maintain optimal eye health. Everyday Health has all your eye drop do’s and don’ts below.
1. Not All at Once
According to Stephanie Marioneaux, MD, clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology, one of the most common mistakes people make is applying drops too quickly. “The eye really only has the capacity to hold on to one eye drop, so the others are just rolling down your face and you’re wasting them,” she says. Remember that an instruction to apply, say, four drops every six hours doesn’t mean applying four drops all at once. It’s “a costly mistake,” according to Marioneaux, and one that could compromise your eye health. “You’re running through the drops too frequently, and you’ll need a second prescription which your insurance may not cover,” she says. When applying multiple drops of the same medicine, take your time.
2. Don’t Mix and Match
If you’re using different eye drops simultaneously, space them out. “I tell patients to maintain a 30-minute window between their prescription and non-prescription drops,” Marioneaux says. Drops may interact to cause burning and watery eyes, which reduces their effectiveness. “If your prescription drop is [to be used] only once a day, you have the entire day to put the rest of the drops in,” Marioneaux says. Talk to your eye doctor about the best way to juggle different drops.
3. Keep Track of Dosages
As with any medication, it’s important that eye drops be taken as directed. Missing doses or overuse can affect treatment. Marioneaux suggests timing doses to an existing routine, such as when you take other medications, or setting an alarm on a smart phone or other device as a reminder. You may want to move an eye drop bottle from one location to another once it has been used. If you prefer, keep a log or draw up a chart and check off whenever a drop is applied. If a patient with a potentially serious condition like glaucoma can’t remember whether they used their eye medicine, Marioneaux advises putting in a drop to be safe. “If they’re not sure and their pressure is really poorly controlled, I’d rather have them do an extra one if they haven’t done it than to not do it,” she said. But Marioneaux emphasizes, “I do not routinely want them putting an extra drop in.”
4. Don’t Skip Drops When You Have an Appointment
“Always use the medicine on the day of your exam unless it’s directed otherwise,” Marioneaux says. “The purpose of the appointment is to see if the drops are working.” Don’t worry about your prescribed eye drops interfering with the appointment, unless you have specific instructions from your eye doctor to stop using them.
5. Mind the Expiration Date
When having a prescription filled, check the expiration date to make sure it won’t lapse during your treatment. If an eye drop does expire, speak to your doctor about whether it’s safe to continue using or if you need a new prescription. If you have drops left over after stopping treatment, “just keep it in a safe place,” Marioneaux says. “But if you’re feeling like you’re having a problem, please don’t just indiscriminately use it. Come in, let me check it and see if what you have at home would be appropriate.”
6. Don’t Self-Diagnose
“Don’t treat yourself for red eyes,” Marioneaux says, or for other eye conditions you’re self-diagnosing. For minor concerns, if a condition does not improve in 24 to 48 hours, “then you should absolutely follow up with the [doctor] to make sure and identify what you have.” If you have more severe symptoms like vision loss, consult a doctor immediately.
7. Know What You’re Taking
Always double-check the bottle in your hand before putting drops in your eye. “The worst mistake is actually confusing the eye drop with the ear drop, and vice versa,” Marioneaux says. “Some people will put ear drops in their eyes and sometimes that can be disastrous.”
8. There’s a Right Way to Put Drops in
“What I tell patients is if they put the drop in and they look on their face and there’s a drop that looks just like the drop they put in – that is the drop – so they should go ahead and put another one in so that they actually have the medicine in,” Marioneaux says. You should aim the drop in the outer – not inner – corner of the eye. “I tell [patients] if you put it in close to the nose, that’s where it goes,” she said. Rather than dabbing your eye with a tissue, place a clean finger gently where the eye meets the nose to keep drops from draining. Contacts can interfere with absorption so, artificial tears aside, it’s usually a good idea to take them out before using drops. Read the instructions on medications carefully, and speak to your doctor if you have any questions. Once the drop is in the eye, don’t blink excessively or rapidly. “Some people feel if they blink and move the eye around they’ll get better absorption. That’s false,” Marioneaux says. “You will pump the medication out of the eye, as opposed to moving it around.” Just blink normally; and if you can’t help blinking a lot, just close the eye for a minute or two.
Eye care is something you don’t want to mess with because your sight is oh so important! Protect your eyes with the proper use of eyes drops and protect the rest of your body with Life Alert Protection! If you are a senior citizen looking to ditch senior care and embrace independent living, then Life Alert is for you. While wearing their lightweight, waterproof medical alert pendant you can summon an emergency medical response fast with one touch of a button. Simply push the button on your pendant, any time, 24/7, and Life Alert’s dispatch team will see to it that the proper authorities are notified fast; no matter what life threating emergency you may face! Personal protection should be all things simple, so focus your sights on the best, with Life Alert Protection!
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- Gupta, Sanjay Dr. “8 Dos and Don’ts When Using Eyedrops.” Everyday Health. 13 November 2015. <http://www.everydayhealth.com/news/dos-and-donts-when-using-eyedrops/ >.