Drop instillation and glaucoma

Curr Opin Ophthalmol. 2018 Mar;29(2):171-177. doi: 10.1097/ICU.0000000000000451.


Purpose of review: To describe the current state of knowledge regarding glaucoma patients' eye drop technique, interventions attempting to improve eye drop technique, and methods for assessing eye drop technique.

Recent findings: In observational studies, between 18.2 and 80% of patients contaminate their eye drop bottle by touching their eye or face, 11.3-60.6% do not instill exactly one drop, and 6.8-37.3% miss the eye with the drop. Factors significantly associated with poorer technique include older age, lack of instruction on eye drop technique, female sex, arthritis, more severe visual field defect, lack of positive reinforcement to take eye drops, lower educational level, low self-efficacy, and being seen at a clinic rather than a private practice. Among intervention studies, four of five studies using a mechanical device and three of four studies using educational interventions to improve technique showed positive results, but none of the studies were randomized controlled trials.

Summary: Poor eye drop technique is a significant impediment to achieving good control of intraocular pressure in glaucoma. Both mechanical device interventions and educational interventions offer promise to improve patients' technique, but studies with stronger designs need to be done followed by introduction into clinical practice.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Ophthalmic*
  • Antihypertensive Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Drug Packaging
  • Glaucoma / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Intraocular Pressure / drug effects
  • Medication Adherence
  • Ophthalmic Solutions / administration & dosage*
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Tonometry, Ocular


  • Antihypertensive Agents
  • Ophthalmic Solutions