Most Glaucoma Patients Are Not Using Their Eye Drops Correctly

Eye doctors often bemoan the fact that many people with glaucoma don’t use their prescribed medication and lose their vision as a result. But nine out of 10 glaucoma patients who are trying to instill their medicated eye drops don’t do it correctly, suggests a recent study.

This is a serious problem, because it may mean insufficient treatment of the sight-stealing disease. Other issues include the waste of money spent on costly medications and contamination of medication bottles.

During the study, 70 glaucoma patients with a mean age of 54 were watched as they used tear substitute drops with the same method they normally used when instilling glaucoma medication eye drops at home.

The researchers measured the time it took to get the first drop into the eye, the number of drops used, where the drops made contact, any contact with the bottle tip and whether the eyelids and tear ducts closed after each drop. Here are the results:

  • The time it took to instill the first drop ranged from 8.7 to 23.5 seconds (mean was 14.8).
  • The number of drops per instillation ranged from one to eight drops (mean was 1.8).
  • The drops fell onto the eyelids or cheek in 22 patients.
  • Fifty-three patients touched the tip of the bottle to the eye or eye area.
  • Twenty closed their eyes after the drop, and four had their tear ducts close.
  • Six patients (about 9 percent) squeezed one drop into the eyelid sac without bottle tip contact, which is the correct way to use glaucoma drops.

Worcestershire Glaucoma Support Group