The Editorial Executive Committee welcomes letters, which should be less than 250 words. Before a decision to publish is made, letters which refer to a published article may be sent to the author for a response. Any letter may be sent to an expert for comment. When letters are published, they are usually accompanied in the same issue by their responses or comments. The Committee screens out discourteous, inaccurate or libellous statements. The letters are sub-edited before publication. Authors are required to declare any conflicts of interest. The Committee's decision on publication is final.

Letter to the Editor

Editor, – The excellent article by Michael Steiner (Aust Prescr 2008;31:16-17) prompts me to submit an alternative method demonstrated by an ophthalmologist many years ago. It is particularly useful when drops are to be administered to children and elderly people.

It involves approaching the eye from across the nose into the corner near the nose so that the dropper is unseen and the tendency to blink is reduced. Even with the eye closed the drops eventually enter the area around the eye as shown by a study with pilocarpine at the time.

  • Tilt the head back or lie down to face the ceiling.
  • Approach the eye from across the nose and hold the dropper above the inner corner without touching it.
  • Squeeze out a drop and feel the liquid run into the eye.
  • Gentle pressure on the bridge of the nose for 1 to 2 minutes will slow draining and increase effect. Rubbing the eye decreases it.
  • The eye may be closed while instilling the drops, especially for children, as drops flow into the eye on opening.
  • Leave 5 minutes between different drops.

Peter Bayly
Consultant pharmacist
Burnside, SA

Author's comments

Dr Steiner, author of the article, comments:

There are of course many ways that eye drops can be instilled and that described by Peter Bayly is especially useful in fractious, frightened children. The only minor problem with it is the small risk of washing skin flora into the conjunctival sac. However, it is useful when more traditional techniques are not possible.