Taking Eye Drop Medications

About the NLO technique ► About the NLO technique ▼

When an eye drop is placed in the eye, some of it exits through the tear drainage system called the nasolacrimal duct, located at the corner of the eye near the nose. The drug then passes through the sinuses, and is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream. Unpleasant side effects can occur when the drug reaches other parts of the body, such as the heart, liver or kidneys. Side effects from some eye medications can include asthma, low blood pressure, high blood pressure, changes in heart rhythm, depression or nervousness.

A simple technique, called nasolacrimal occlusion, or NLO, can prevent the drug from flowing into the drainage duct. That keeps more medicine in your eye and makes the drug more effective. Below are the step-by-step instructions on how to apply the NLO technique.

Tip: keep the eye drop container clean ► Tip: keep the eye drop container clean ▼

Avoid touching the dropper against the eye or anything else. After applying drops, replace the cap right away without wiping or rinsing off the dropper.

Step One ► Step One ▼

Taking eye drops, step 1Tilt your head back. Using your middle finger, gently press the corner of the eye by the side of the nose.

Step Two ► Step Two ▼

Taking eye drops, step 2Use your index finger to pull down the lower lid. Then apply the eye drop medicine.

Step Three ► Step Three ▼

Taking eye drops, step 3After applying the eye drop, let go of your lower lid. Close the eye and keep the middle finger in place for at least two minutes. If you’re applying more than one type of drop, wait at least 15 minutes for the next application. Use a facial tissue to wipe away excess drops on eyelids.
Taking Your Eyedrop Medications Fact Sheet
Taking Your Eyedrop Medications fact sheet