How to Instill Eye Drops

Try to look straight up by tilting your head back when instilling eye drops. A  magnifying mirror above your head, so you can look straight up and see exactly what you are doing, can also help.

Follow these steps:

  1. Wash your hands.
  2. Open the eye drop container.
  3. Tilt your head back.
  4. Pull back the lower lid slightly.
  5. Place the drop in the pocket of your lower lid being careful not to touch the tip to any surface.
  6. Replace the lid on the container immediately.

You may need to blink a few times to spread the drop across your eye.

If you experience stinging, close your eyes immediately after instilling the drops, don’t blink, and hold them closed for at least 5 minutes, and up to 25 minutes. Do not open your eyes until the stinging subsides.

Sometimes, to avoid stinging, it helps to first irrigate the eye with .9% sterile saline solution. Squirt the sterile saline solution 1 to 5 times in each eye before using the drop. You can use .9% sterile saline that comes in single dose vials, available via prescription in the U.S., or any other .9% sterile saline solution. Immediately after irrigating, instill the drops, close the eyes, and keep them closed for at least 5, and up to 25, minutes.

Avoid over-irrigating to prevent further irritation.

If you are prescribed a new topical eye medication, or want to try a new lubricating drop or ointment, you can always try it in one eye first, and see how you do. This way, if you are sensitive to it, or have an allergic reaction, at least you will only have the discomfort in one eye.