The modern world doesn’t always provide a healthy environment for our eyes, and everyday activities like looking at a screen, sitting in an air-conditioned office or flying on planes can cause them to dry out. Dry eyes are also a common temporary symptom following laser eye surgery.

Fortunately, eye drops can help alleviate the symptoms by introducing moisture to the eyes.

Do: Maintain good hygiene to prevent infection

Always wash your hands thoroughly before putting in your eye drops. Otherwise, bacteria or foreign bodies on your fingers could get transferred to your delicate cornea. The last thing you want is an infection or further irritation, on top of the symptoms of dry eyes.

Don’t: Use somebody else’s eye drops

Sharing eye drops isn’t advisable, because it’s a very easy way to spread infection from one person to another. Another person may also have a specific solution that’s prescribed just for them, rather than generic moisturising drops. Instead, always make sure you have your own ample supply available.

Do: Make sure your head is tilted back

Applying your own eye drops is tricky business, so it’s important to use gravity to help you. You’ll improve your chances of getting the solution into the right place if your head is tilted back. You may find it easiest to lie down flat in order to achieve this. After a few applications, you’ll learn which position is best for you.

Don’t: Blink or flinch

Lady using eye drops

It’s easier said than done, but your eye needs to be wide open when drops are applied, or they won’t reach the right place. Try to focus on a particular point on the ceiling while applying the drops.

Do: Make a pocket between your eye and your lower eyelid

Using a clean finger or two, pull down on your cheek to create a gap between your eye and your lower eyelid. This is where the eye drop needs to go.

Don’t: Let the eye dropper come into contact with your eyes

It might be a bit fiddly, but to minimise the transfer of bacteria, try not to touch anything with the dropper. As the name suggests, the dropper doesn’t need to physically touch your eyes; instead you’ll need to ‘drop’ the liquid from above. This is something that gets easier with practice!

Do: Shut your eyes gently when the drop has been applied

At the same time, tilt your head down towards the floor. This will help the drop to absorb.

Don’t: Forget to wash your hands when you’ve finished

We can’t emphasise enough the importance of good hygiene, especially where the eyes are concerned.

Do: Seek advice if needed

It’s vital to follow the instructions given to you by your laser eye surgeon, and take note of any directions printed on the packaging.

Remember, if you have any questions about using eye drops, or if your dry eye symptoms don’t improve, consult your pharmacist or eye specialist for advice.