25 March 2019

The College of Optometrists issues new patient factsheet as hay fever season arrives early

With hay fever season arriving earlier, The College of Optometrists has issued a member-only patient factsheet detailing a step by step guide on eye drop instillation.

The factsheet arrives as the College warns hay fever sufferers to treat their allergy before their symptoms arise, to minimise the effects. 

The new patient factsheet has been produced following the results of the College’s 2018 survey highlighting poor hygiene and compliance when using eye drops. The survey revealed that almost half of its respondents (47.2%) had never been shown how to use eye drops correctly; whilst a further 25.5% admitted that they always or sometimes touch the inside of their eye with the bottle tip. The new patient factsheet covers a 12 step process on how to use eye drops correctly and advises patients to use the instructions alongside the manufacturer’s advice.

Daniel Hardiman-McCartney FCOptom Clinical Adviser for The College of Optometrists, said: “The warmer spring weather, and rising pollen levels, mean that many people are are beginning to be affected by itchy and swollen eyes. Hay fever can cause considerable eye discomfort, and eye drops are one of the most effective ways to alleviate the symptoms. Our new patient factsheet offers the public a step by step guide on how to instil their eye drops safely and effectively. It’s key that people are using their drops correctly to ensure they have the maximum effect, helping to prevent the symptoms of hay fever developing and lessening their impact.”

The College’s other advice for hay fever sufferers is to: 

  • Visit your optometrist or pharmacist for advice and to get medicated eye drops to help alleviate itching and swelling. 
  • Avoid your exposure to pollen, by closing windows and keeping surfaces clear with a damp duster.
  • Wear sunglasses when outside, which may help to protect your eyes from dust and pollen.
  • If you wear contact lenses, remember to check if you can use the drops when you are wearing your lenses. When the pollen count is very high, it can be more comfortable to wear spectacles rather than contact lenses. You may also feel more comfortable by not wearing contact lenses when you are gardening, particularly when mowing the lawn, as grass particles and pollen may become stuck behind the lenses, causing discomfort. 
  • If your eyes feel dry, seek professional advice from your optometrist, pharmacist or GP. They may recommend purchasing lubricating eye drops to ease the dryness.

Members of The College of Optometrists can download the patient factsheet here. The College has also developed a patient video called ‘How to use eye drops’ which is available free for College members to access and embed on their practice websites, and for patients to view from the College’s patient-facing website, LookAfterYourEyes.org

The public is also invited to find their nearest College member or fellow via the public directory on LookAfterYourEyes.  


Notes to Editors

  1. The College is the professional body for optometry. We qualify the profession and deliver the guidance and training to ensure optometrists provide the best possible care. We promote excellence through the College’s affixes, by building the evidence base for optometry, and raising awareness of the profession with the public, commissioners, and health care professionals.
  2. *Research undertaken by Censuswide on behalf of The College of Optometrists in September 2018. 2000 people were surveyed.

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