Please note: This information was current at the time of publication but now may be out of date. This handout provides a general overview and may not apply to everyone. 

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Am Fam Physician. 1999;59(7):1882

See related article on glaucoma.

What should I remember about glaucoma eyedrops?

Glaucoma eyedrops are generally safe, but be sure to tell all your doctors that you're using them. These eyedrops are medicines. Like most medicines, they can have side effects (like dizziness or troubled breathing), or they might not work well with other medicines you may take. Keep your glaucoma eyedrops away from children.

How do I put this medicine in my eyes?

  • First, check the label on the bottle to make sure that you are using the right medicine.

  • Wash your hands.

  • Before you open the bottle, shake it a few times.

  • Bend your neck back so that you're looking up at the ceiling. Use one finger to pull down your lower eyelid (see drawing below).

  • Without letting the tip of the bottle touch your eye or eyelid, squeeze one drop of the medicine into the space between your eye and your lower eyelid. If you squeeze in more than one drop, you're wasting medicine.

  • After you squeeze the drop of medicine into your eye, close your eye. Then press a finger between your eye and the top of your nose. Press for several minutes. This way, more of the medicine stays in your eye. You'll be less likely to have side effects.

  • Wash your hands again after you put the drops in your eyes.

  • Don't let the tip of the bottle touch a table, the cabinet or anything else.

I need to take more than one glaucoma medicine. How do I do that?

  • Put a drop of the first medicine in your eye. Wait at least 10 minutes to put the second medicine in your eye. If you're taking three medicines, wait 10 more minutes before putting the third medicine in your eye. If you don't wait 10 minutes between medicines, some of the medicine may run out of your eye. If the medicine runs out of your eye, it doesn't help you.

  • If someone else puts your medicines in your eye for you, remind that person to wait 10 minutes between each medicine.

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