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Diseases & Conditions

Prescriptions for Eye Care

These are some simple guidelines to follow for wearing corrective lenses or taking medicine prescribed by your eye health care provider.

  • Always store in a clean, dry place away from potential impact.
  • Clean your glasses with water and a non-lint cloth, as necessary, to keep them spot-free and prevent distorted vision.
  • See your doctor annually to check your prescription.
Contact lenses
  • Always store your contact lenses in a clean case in fresh solution as recommended by your doctor.
  • If you wear disposable contacts and you develop an eye infection, you should throw away your current pair and discontinue use until you talk with your doctor. Wearing a contaminated pair of contact lenses will invite the infection to remain.
  • Never wear another person’s contacts, especially if they have been worn before. Using them may be a hazard if they are a different prescription but it will also spread any infection or particles from their eyes to yours.
  • As with eyeglasses, see your doctor annually to check your prescription.

Before medication is prescribed, tell your doctor:

  • If you are allergic to any medications.
  • If you are currently taking any other medications (including over-the-counter medications).
  • If you are pregnant or think you might be pregnant.
  • If you have problems taking any medications.
Medication guidelines
  • Read all labels carefully.
  • Know exactly why you are taking each medication.
  • Keep a list of all your medications and their dosages with you. Eye drops, skin lotions, and vitamins are considered medications and should be included on your list.
  • Take your medications exactly as prescribed by your doctor.
  • Review possible drug side effects. Most reactions will occur when a new drug is started, but this is not always the case. Some reactions may be delayed or may occur when a new medication is added.
  • Do not stop taking medication unless you talk to your doctor first. Stopping your medication too early can cause the illness to return or make it more difficult to treat.
  • Do not double the dose of your medication.
  • If you miss a dose of your medication at the scheduled time, don’t panic. Take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for you next dose, skip the missed dose and return to your regular medication schedule.
  • Do not keep medication that is outdated or no longer needed.
  • Store medications in a dry area away from moisture (unless your doctor or pharmacist tells you the medicine needs to be refrigerated).
  • Always keep medications out of the reach of children.
  • Contact your doctor immediately if you experience any unusual side effects after taking your medication.
  • Do not share your medications with others.
  • If you store your medications in a container, label it with the medication name, dose, frequency, and expiration date.
  • Anticipate when your medications will be running out and have your prescriptions renewed as necessary.
  • Use one pharmacy if possible.
  • Keep your medications in your carry-on luggage when you travel. Do not pack them in a suitcase that is checked, in case your baggage gets lost.
  • Take extra medication with you when you travel in case your flight is delayed and you need to stay away longer than planned.
  • Always follow your doctor’s instructions exactly and take medications according to the label.
  • If you have any questions about your medication, ask your doctor.
How to give yourself eye drops or ointment
  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water. Dry them with a clean towel.
  • If you are putting in your own eye medicine, lie down or use a mirror. Ask someone to check that you are getting the medicine in your eye.
  • Look up to the ceiling with both eyes.
  • Pull the lower lid of your eye down with one hand. Hold the medicine bottle or tube in your other hand (rest part of your hand on your forehead if necessary to keep it steady.)
  • Place a drop of medicine or a small amount of ointment inside your lower lid. The tip of the medicine bottle or tube should not touch your eye.
  • Close your eyes for a minute after putting in the medicine.
  • If you are prescribed both eye drops and eye ointment, use the eye drops first.
  • If you have more than one eye medicine to put in your eyes, wait about 5 minutes after the first medicine before putting in the second medicine.
Diet considerations

You should ask your doctor about the effects of food on your prescribed medicine. Some foods interfere with the body’s ability to absorb drugs into the bloodstream. On the other hand, some prescription drugs should be taken with food to prevent stomach irritation.

Pregnancy precautions

In general, if you are pregnant or breast-feeding and will be taking prescription or nonprescription medications, consult your doctor first. Small amounts of medication can pass from mother to child.

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This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. This document was last reviewed on: 11/14/2008…#8570