A nurse and case manager at the Cincinnati VA Medical Center’s eye center has invented a new device to make it easier for patients to put drops in their eyes.

Terri Ohlinger noticed that many patients were having trouble using eyedrops correctly. Many patients have trouble squeezing small eyedrop bottles or positioning the drops over their eyes.

So with the help of University of Cincinnati engineering students, Ohlinger designed a device called the “DropEase” to make the process easier.

“There were a lot of patients who weren’t doing their eye drops,” Ohlinger told WCPO, an ABC affiliate in Cincinnati. “Or I was re-ordering their eye drops really frequently because they were using too much. Many of our patients have manual dexterity issues to where they just couldn’t squeeze the bottle, and they just kind of gave up.”

Hand-held DropEase device. Photo courtesy of VA Technology Transfer program

Device has easy-squeeze handle

The DropEase provides a stable platform for self-administering eyedrops, complete with a handle that is easy to squeeze with weak or shaky hands. The device allows users to set a metered dosage to get the proper amount of medication every time. Standard eyedrop bottles fit into the device.

The team designed two versions: a hand-held device and one with an applicator that can be worn like eyeglasses. Ohlinger and her VA colleagues worked with local Veterans to test the prototypes, and received positive feedback.

The DropEase can help users with conditions such as tremors, Parkinson’s disease or arthritis overcome difficulties with eyedrop bottles. The autosqueeze handle makes it easier to apply enough force to a small bottle. The device also features an aiming channel to help direct the drops into the eye.

The version with an eyeglass frame makes positioning the drops even easier by removing the need for the user to hold the bottle up.

The invention could also be used to apply medication drops to the ear canals.

VA Tech Transfer helps move the invention along

Ohlinger has applied for a patent with the help of VA’s Technology Transfer Program. Tech Transfer is now marketing the invention to medical device manufacturers for licensing and production through its licensing intermediary, TechLink.

TechLink provides licensing assistance to companies at no cost, with royalties from any eventual commercial sales going to the inventor and VA.

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21 Comments

  1. Arthur Kane April 8, 2022 at 11:37 am

    When and how available?

  2. paul March 20, 2022 at 1:14 pm

    When and where will it be available?

  3. Al Scott March 19, 2022 at 5:01 pm

    HALLELUJAH!! Thank you, Tristan! Where can I get get one of these Drop Ease dispenser?? I have photophobia and half the time can’t get drops into my eyes with shaky hands!

  4. Kevin Cornish March 13, 2022 at 11:22 am

    What a great invention. Well done!

  5. Rob Breisch March 13, 2022 at 11:12 am

    Bravo! I have issues using my eyedrops for open-angle glaucoma.
    This device ought to be available for all vets at home to utilize!
    Thank you and keep up the great ideas!
    Robert Breisch
    Everett, WA

  6. Clifford Zeman March 13, 2022 at 10:52 am

    I’ll be glad to have and use the eye glass type. I have severe neuropathy in my hands and it takes me 3-5 tries to get the drops in my eyes. I waste more than I use each day. Thanks for helping us out!

  7. Terrell Lewis March 13, 2022 at 10:42 am

    Where can I get one?

  8. MONICA FITZGERALD March 12, 2022 at 10:15 am

    I hope to find out when this will be available. Great invention ! Thank you!

  9. Charles March 12, 2022 at 6:57 am

    I can’t wait to try it I take eye drops three times a day. The VA is my provider for all my eye drop medications.

    Thank you and the VA for all you do.

  10. terryghillard March 11, 2022 at 10:29 pm

    This is needed greatly

  11. terryghillard March 11, 2022 at 10:23 pm

    This will be a game changer for a good percentage of our vets…including me

  12. Cal Covington March 11, 2022 at 10:09 pm

    News of the prototype made with assistance of the U of Cincinnati students was broadcast over 2 years ago. What is the current progress on this product or why was none listed in the article? Not to mention if there is ANY approximate date of possible distribution. More pie in the sky?

  13. Angelo Saavedra March 11, 2022 at 5:23 pm

    I would love to have it because I have a problem putting my eyes drops to prevent glaucoma.

  14. PAUL TENENBAUM March 11, 2022 at 4:34 pm

    IN ORDER TO GET THE DROPS ONTO THE CENTER OF THE EYE, THE EYE LIDS SHOULD REMAIN OPEN.
    HOW CAN THIS DEVICE OVERCOME MY PROBLEM.

  15. Victor Sellers March 11, 2022 at 4:25 pm

    Good luck with your devise, but I have never had a problem like many do because they don’t know how to use the common dispenser. You place it gently on the inside corner and squeeze the bottle until you feel the moisture coming out. I don’t think it can get any simpler. You don’t hold it up in the air to DROP onto your eye ball. You touch the flesh in the inside corner of the eye very gently and gently squeeze the bottle. Very very simple. Is the cost to manufacture this really worth it? I really hope it is and probably it to those that can’t use the bottle type dispenser. Many were never taught how to use it, so I hope someone benefits from input. Good luck!

    • Judy March 14, 2022 at 7:26 pm

      Hello Mr Sellers, I suggest that you contact your eye doc or nurse about your eye drops. Most directions say do not touch the tip of the dropper with anything, including your the corner of your eye.

  16. Pamela G Russell March 11, 2022 at 3:14 pm

    Way to go to the VA Nurse. I hope you make millions on your invention! I have had ET for 48 years and both. glaucoma & AMD for about 11 years. I look forward to trying your device.

  17. Craig Clayton March 11, 2022 at 12:36 pm

    I use drops for glacoma and would benefit with one of these when they become svsilable. Great job!!

  18. John Mc Laughlin March 11, 2022 at 10:21 am

    Can this devise currently ( 03/11/2022 ) be purchased ?
    IF YES how &where ? IF NO, WHEN IT is available for purchase can I PLEASE be notified ?
    Thank you.

    • Dave Ling March 11, 2022 at 5:51 pm

      Please answer Mr McLaughlin. I’ll bet there are numerous waiting folks out with the similar issues

  19. Charles Bridges March 10, 2022 at 11:58 pm

    This would be a lifesaver for me as I have essential tremors and a very tough time putting eye drops in my eyes.

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