Patient Resources
Everyday eye care

glaucoma-eye-drop-faq

Why do I have to use my eye drops permanently and continually?

In order to prevent visual loss the pressure must be constantly controlled. The effect of each dose of drops lasts for only a limited time. If a drop is given four times a day, it is because the effect of the drop only lasts about 6 hours. If the drops are not continuously used the pressure will creep back up again.

Do I have to get up at night to take my eye drops?

No. An undisturbed night is more important, but if prescribed for use three or more times daily, it is usually desirable to put them in last thing at night and as soon as you wake up in the morning.

If I have two lots of drops due at the same time, can I put them in together?

As mentioned above, it is probably best to allow five to ten minutes between drops to avoid one drop washing out the previous one. Ask your optometrist for specific advice about the drops you are taking.

Do I need to put the drops in before I come to the clinic?

Yes. Always continue as usual unless requested otherwise. It helps the doctor to judge the effect of the treatment.

Does it matter if I put more drops into my eye than I should?

No, not usually. But your doctor will have prescribed you the optimal dosage for the medication you are using. If you are unsure whether the drops actually get in your eye, it may be useful to keep the drops in the refrigerator. You should feel the ‘cold’ of the drops and can be sure they have gone in.

How important is it to put the drops in at exactly the time stated?

It is obviously better to keep to the correct times, but sometimes circumstances make this difficult. In most circumstances, as long as you get the drops in within a few hours on either side of what you normally do, no harm will come.

What happens if I forget to put my drops in?

Put them in as soon as you remember and do not worry about it unduly. Nevertheless, make a determined effort to use them regularly and without fail.

Can I take other medicines at the same time as my glaucoma treatment?

Patients with certain types of glaucoma should have advice before taking some types of medications. Always mention to both your general practitioner and your optometrist all the medications that you are taking and your doctor will advise you.

I use Xalatan in one eye and now have long eye lashes. Will they keep growing indefinitely?

It’s unlikely you’ll end up tripping over your lashes! The truth is that the drops prolong the life of the eyelashes. They continue to grow and so become longer. As with any hair, lashes will be shed and new ones grow. Long eyelashes are rarely a problem!

I have to go into hospital for an operation. Do I need to take my eye drops with me or can I give them a break for a while?

It’s very important to take your glaucoma medications with you and to continue with your glaucoma treatment. Make sure your doctors are informed that you take glaucoma medication. Sometimes glaucoma treatment gets overlooked because attention is being given to your other problems. Remind nursing staff if you think your drops have been forgotten.

What should I do if I forget to pack my eye drops on a trip overseas?

The short answer to this one is: don’t do it! Don’t ever jeopardise your sight by going away without your drops. Record the details of your medication and treatments on a card, along with the phone numbers of your eye health professionals back home. If you carry that in your wallet you will have information at hand if you need to seek a replacement prescription while overseas. Another good idea is to carry a brief summary letter from your ophthalmologist with you when you travel overseas. If you are a frequent traveller, it is a good idea to keep such a letter with your passport so it always travels with you. Seeing the letter might even serve to remind you to check that your drops are packed before you go.

I am finding it difficult to manage my eye drop bottle. Is there anything available to help me?

There are some devices to help you get your drops in. These are generally available from your optometrist.

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