How to use eye drops

Information adapted from The Eye Institute and Glaucoma NZ.

When putting in eye drops, you need to make sure that you’ve washed your hands before doing anything else.

Tilt your head and look at the ceiling- you can do this standing, sitting, or even lying down. Choose the position that is most comfortable for you.

Pull your lower eyelid down gently, to form a ‘pocket’ to catch the eye drops.

Squeeze the bottle and drop ONE drop into the eye. If you miss your eye (or think you’ve missed it), let go of your lower eyelid and close your eye for 30 seconds. Use a tissue to wipe any stray eye drops away. Then try again.

A hint- if you can’t feel whether the drops have gone in, you could try storing the eye drops in the fridge- if the drops are cold it’s easier to feel where they’ve gone.

If you have to use more than one type of eye drop, wait about 3-5 minutes before applying your other eye drops. If you have to use ointment as well as eye drops, use the eye drops first, then wait 5 minutes before applying the ointment. This helps you make sure the medicine has time to do its work.

Make sure you wash your hands again after you’ve put the drops in.

Dos and Don’ts


  • Replace the cap on the bottle as soon as you’ve used the eye drops.
  • Talk to your doctor if you have any questions
  • Contact the Blind Foundation if you’re a client and are having trouble using your eye drops (see below).


  • Let other people use your eye drops- or any medicine you’ve been prescribed by a healthcare professional.
  • Touch your eye, eyelid, or anything else with the nozzle on the bottle- this makes sure the nozzle stays clean.
  • Wear contact lenses if you’re using eye drops, unless your doctor says you can.

Still having problems putting in your eye drops?

If you’re a Blind Foundation client or member and you’re having difficulty putting in your eye drops, ask for a referral to the Adaptive Daily Living team [link]. Our friendly specialist staff will be able to come up with a customised solution. They can also advise you if you need help storing or identifying your eye drops.

Having issues with the eye drops themselves?

If you’re having problems with the drops themselves- for example if your eyes are becoming itchy or uncomfortable, contact your eye specialist as soon as you can and let them know about the problem.

Don’t stop using the drops unless advised to do so by a healthcare professional, but do speak up. You can become sensitive to ingredients in your eye drops, even after years of trouble-free use- your doctor will be able to prescribe a more comfortable alternative.