Background: Methods to improve patient compliance with prescribed topical use of glaucoma medication are sorely needed. A guide for the topical administration of ocular medication was suggested as such a tool. We investigated whether eye drop self-administration would be improved with use of the guide.
Methods: An eye drop guide, a funnel-shaped device designed to fit within the contour of the orbital margins, was offered to 114 patients for use at home with their glaucoma medication. A questionnaire asking about the ease of eye drop self-administration was administered before and after 1 week's use of the device.
Results: Of the 111 patients who accepted the guide, 93 returned a usable completed questionnaire. Seventy-four percent said that they found it easier to administer their eye drops without the guide and preferred to do so (chi2 = 21.77, p < 0.01). Patients using more doses per day found it more difficult to administer their drops using the guide (r = -0.233, p < 0.05), and those who had been using drops longer preferred not to continue using the guide (r = -0.222, p < 0.05). Patients who found the written instructions clearer found it easier to administer their drops using the guide (r = 0.329, p < 0.05).
Interpretation: Although intended to ease the administration of eye drops, the guide proved to be counterproductive. Further work is necessary to investigate other methods of improving patient compliance with prescribed topical use of ocular medications.