Self-application of single-use eyedrop containers in an elderly population: comparisons with standard eyedrop bottle and with younger patients
Purpose: To test whether patients aged ≥80 years can safely and successfully apply eyedrops from a single‐use eyedrop container without support, and to compare the results with those of younger patients using single‐use containers and older patients using standard eyedrop bottles.
Methods: Patients aged ≥80 years who had no physical or mental conditions hindering self‐application of eyedrops and actually did so because of glaucoma or dry eyes were included consecutively in the study group (n=44) in order to perform self‐application of eyedrops from single‐use eyedrop containers. Patients were observed meticulously by two investigators, who documented practical problems during the procedure in a checklist. In control group A (n=22), glaucoma or sicca patients aged between 50 and 65 years applied drops from single‐use eyedrop containers; in control group B (n=28), glaucoma or sicca patients aged ≥80 years used a traditional eyedrop bottle.
Results: Successful application of the drops into the conjunctival sac was achieved by 57% in the study group (95% and 89% in control groups A and B, respectively). Scratching of the eyedrop container along the conjunctiva or cornea was observed in 68% of the study group (41% and 61% in control groups A and B, respectively). Frequency of problems during opening and self‐application of single‐use eyedrop containers in the study group showed an inverse correlation to visual acuity in the better eye and previous experience with this kind of eyedrop container.
Conclusion: Older patients have massive problems in self‐administering eyedrops from single‐use containers. Factors influencing the success of self‐application may include the patient’s previous experience with this kind of eyedrop container and the patient’s visual acuity.