How glaucoma patient characteristics, self-efficacy and patient-provider communication are associated with eye drop technique

Int J Pharm Pract. 2016 Apr;24(2):78-85. doi: 10.1111/ijpp.12215. Epub 2015 Aug 25.


Objectives: The objective of this study was to examine the extent to which patient characteristics, eye drop technique self-efficacy, and ophthalmologist-patient communication about eye drop administration are associated with glaucoma patients' ability to instil a single drop, have the drop land in the eye, and avoid touching the applicator tip of the medication bottle to the eye or face while self-administering eye drops.

Methods: Glaucoma patients (n = 279) were recruited from six ophthalmology clinics. Medical visits were videotape-recorded. Afterwards, patients were interviewed and demonstrated administering an eye drop on a videotaped-recording. Generalized estimating equations were used to analyse the data.

Key findings: Ophthalmologists provided eye drop administration instruction to 40 patients. Patients with more years of education were significantly more likely to both instil a single drop (P = 0.017) and have the drop land in their eye (P = 0.017). Women were significantly more likely to touch the applicator tip to their eyes or face (P = 0.014). Patients with severe glaucoma (P = 0.016), women (P = 0.026), and patients who asked at least one eye drop administration question (P = 0.001) were significantly less likely to instil a single drop. Patients with arthritis were significantly less likely to have the drop land in their eye (P = 0.008). African American patients were significantly less likely to touch the applicator tip to their eyes or face (P = 0.008).

Conclusions: Some glaucoma patients have a difficult time self-administering eye drops. As so few patients received eye drop administration instruction from their providers, there is an opportunity for pharmacists to complement care.

Keywords: eye drop instillation; glaucoma; patient question-asking; patient-provider communication; self-efficacy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antihypertensive Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Antihypertensive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Arthritis / complications
  • Female
  • Glaucoma / drug therapy*
  • Health Communication*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ophthalmic Solutions / administration & dosage*
  • Ophthalmologists
  • Patient Education as Topic*
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Self Administration / methods
  • Self Efficacy
  • Sex Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Videotape Recording
  • Young Adult


  • Antihypertensive Agents
  • Ophthalmic Solutions