The eye drop delusion

While there are many therapies for the various forms of glaucoma, the main treatment remains the daily instillation of eye drops. Recently published research suggests, however, that most users could benefit from reviewing their instillation technique with their pharmacist.

Glaucoma is an eye disease that can eventually lead to blindness if it remains untreated. While there are many therapies for the various forms of the disease, the main treatment remains the daily instillation of eye drops. Recently published research suggests, however, that most users could benefit from reviewing their instillation technique with their pharmacist: in this study, 90 percent of patients who had been using eye drops regularly for at least six months were convinced they were applying the drops correctly, but the researchers observed that less than one third actually demonstrated adequate skills.

When questioned on their instillation technique, approximately 60 percent of patients said they never missed their eye when administering the drops, nearly 80 percent said they never touched their eye with the bottle tip, and slightly more than 60 percent reported that they washed their hands before using the drops. And yet, when they were filmed, only 2 to 3 participants out of 10 managed to instil a drop without touching their eye, and less than 2 percent washed their hands before applying the drops.

While administering eye drops is not very complicated, certain precautions must be taken in order to maximize the medication’s efficacy, reduce the risk of adverse effects, and ensure that the drops do not get contaminated. In addition, using an inadequate instillation technique can mean that the wrong amount of medication is delivered. If not enough is instilled, the patient is not being adequately treated, while applying more medication than necessary can prove costly to patients due to the wasted eye drops.

If you have an eye condition that requires a regular application of eye drops, don’t hesitate to ask your pharmacist to review the proper instillation technique with you. It isn’t rocket science, but it does make a big difference!

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