How to use eye drops

Medically reviewed by Khuram Sarwar, Dispensing Optician at Feel Good Contacts.

Lubricating eye drops offer fast, effective relief from dry, gritty, scratchy, red or irritated eyes. They work to reintroduce moisture into your eyes, helping them to naturally lubricate themselves.

Applying eye drops correctly can be vital to protecting your eyes and vision. Failing to put them in correctly can defeat the purpose of having them as well as cost you a lot of money.

Putting in eye drops can seem a bit scary at first, however, once you get the hang of it, it's quite simple. Whether it’s a bottle of eye drops or a single-use vial, follow our step-by-step guide on applying eye drops correctly and safely.

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly and dry them before starting.
  2. There is no need to shake the bottle before use if you are using eye drops in the form of a solution.
  3. Make sure you look closely at the dropper tip to check that it is not damaged but do not touch the tip as this could contaminate the solution.
  4. Tilt your head upwards or lie down and look up to the ceiling. Gently pull your lower eyelid down using your index finger and your middle finger from your non-dominant hand.
  5. Rest your dominant hand on your non-dominant hand, holding the eye drops bottle/vial level with the eye.
  6. Keep the bottle at a close but safe distance above your eye and gently squeeze the bottle to apply one drop. Some bottles are made to allow gravity to do the work for you, but patience is required. Make sure the drop falls into the pocket between the eye and the eyelid.
  7. Close your eye gently and with your eyes closed tilt your head downwards for a couple of seconds so that the eye drop can be absorbed.
  8. Repeat these steps with the other eye

If you have been prescribed more than one drop by your optician, make sure you don't apply them too quickly after each other. Doing this could prevent the eye ointment from absorbing effectively.

how to use eye drops

How long do eye drops take to work?

Different types of eye drops take different amounts of time to penetrate the surface of the eye. This depends on the type of eye drops and the condition for which they are being used to treat.

Non-prescription eye drops for dry eyes tend to work instantly. Our comfi Drops are a premium product that reintroduces moisture to your eyes right away. They can be used with or without contact lenses in.

How many times a day can you use eye drops?

Eye drops can be used to treat a range of conditions, including glaucoma, eye infections, a blocked tear duct, allergies and dry eyes. Therefore, the recommended amount of times a day for using eye drops varies depending on the condition.

If you have prescription eye drops, you should take the advice recommended to you by your optician. However, no matter how many eye drops they recommend you use and how many times a day they recommend you use them, you should always follow the correct eye care procedure for applying them.

For non-prescription eye drops, we recommend following the instructions provided on the eye drops package. You'll find that some eye drops are designed to be used specifically in the morning and others at night.

Can I apply eye drops when I have my contact lenses in?

Most eye drops are designed so that they can be used while you’re wearing your contact lenses. This makes things easier when you’re out for the day and your lenses/eyes start feeling dry or irritated.

However, it’s always best to check on the packaging of the eye drops. Alternatively, you can speak to one of our knowledgeable and helpful customer service team. If you have any questions or queries about which eye drops you need, don’t hesitate to call us on 0800 458 2090 or email us at

Our best-selling eye drops include Blink Contacts, Systane Ultra and comfi Soothe drops. These are the perfect treatments for dry eye syndrome.

Quick links:

A guide to dry eye
Computer eye strain: symptoms and solutions
Dry eye treatments
A guide to red eyes

Disclaimer: The advice in this article is for informational purposes only and does not replace medical care or an in-person check-up. Please check with an eyecare professional before purchasing any products or remedies. For information on our article review process, please refer to our Editorial Policy.

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