By Dr S.S. Gill
Ipoh Echo’s EYE HEALTH series continues with Consultant Eye Surgeon Dr S.S. GILL talking to us about avoiding common mistakes made when using eyedrops.
The handling of eyedrops is of paramount importance for it to work best for you. In today’s world, almost everyone has had to use some form of eyedrops sometime or the other. Here are some pointers when using eyedrops.
Always make it a point to wash your hands before handling any kind of eyedrop. This is to ensure that you do not contaminate the eyedrops or pick up any infection when handling your eyes.
2. INSTIL EYEDROPS CAREFULLY
If you are on multiple eyedrops, do not apply every eyedrop all at once as the eyes can only take one drop each time. Should you apply them all at once, they just spill out of the eye and run down the face. This is not only a waste of eyedrops but also reduces efficacy of the eyedrops as only so much can get in each time. It is best to wait at least 20 minutes in between each eyedrop instillation.
3. KNOW THE EYEDROPS THAT YOU ARE USING
Avoid purchasing over the counter (OTC) eyedrops unless they are lubricant eyedrops or artificial tears. Purchasing medicated eyedrops like those containing steroids must be avoided. In Malaysia unlike other countries, there are no stringent laws to control purchase of steroid eyedrops. This is dangerous because eyedrops like these when used indiscriminately without a prescription can cause serious problems like worsening of corneal infections, glaucoma, early cataract formation and even blindness if used long term without eye supervision. A steroid eyedrop should only be used when it has been prescribed by an eye doctor who is able to monitor your eye when you are using such steroid eyedrops.
4. DO NOT WEAR CONTACT LENSES WHEN USING EYEDROPS
Instilling eyedrops into eyes with contact lenses on should be avoided unless they are preservative-free eyedrops or eyedrops meant for contact lens wear. Contact lenses absorb eyedrops which can result in inflammation (keratitis) due to prolonged contact on the surface of the cornea.
5. DON’T OMIT EYEDROPS JUST BECAUSE YOU ARE SEEING THE DOCTOR
The reason you are being reviewed by the doctor is to find out whether the prescribed eyedrops are working or not. Never skip the eyedrops unless specifically instructed by the doctor.
6. INFORM YOUR DOCTOR IF THERE ARE PROBLEMS
Make it a point to inform your doctor if you get a red eye, eye pain or swelling after using eyedrops. Such symptoms may be indicative of an allergy to the eyedrops.
7. KEEP ALL EYEDROPS AWAY FROM KIDS
Remember to keep all eyedrops away from children. Eyedrops may have undesirable side effects should they be swallowed by a toddler. In fact, it can be dangerous.