At a training session for NMPs this week, I asked how we could justify prescribing two bottles of eye drops to patients, given the acute (ie. short-term) nature of the problem, and the loss of sterility 28 days after opening. Several NMPs said that it was common practice, in hospital, as well as in the community, to issue two if there was an infection in both eyes. Please correct me if I am wrong here, but isn't this a waste of resource and an excuse for poor administration technique (on the part of healthcare professionals at least)? And in any case, if the infection is in both eyes, where is the risk of cross infection if the patient or their carer administers and accidentally touches the eye? I would also like to know how hospital staff, and patients, label their bottles to distinguish which one is for which eye - that is, without obliterating the dispensing instructions and other essential information?
I would appreciate any evidence-based, or good practice views on this please.
Gill Speak, NMP Clinical Pharmacist