What are Steroid Eye Drops?

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  • Written By: Nicole Long
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 09 June 2019
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Steroid eye drops, also referred to as corticosteroid eye drops, are prescribed by physicians and ophthalmologists to treat swelling and itching in the eye. Both temporary and permanent side effects are possible when using these eye drops. Follow-up is required to ensure the drops are working.

Several active ingredients are common in steroid based eye drops. This includes prednisolone, fluoromethalone, medrysone and remexolone. Other active ingredients may include hydrocortisone and dexamethasone.

Eye drops can be used to treat a number of eye conditions. Conjunctivitis, commonly known as pink eye, and other infections are the main uses. Steroid based eye drops can also be used to treat swelling and inflammation caused by chemicals, allergies, and foreign objects in the eye.

The drops act to help reduce inflammation, itching, and redness of the eye. In some cases, steroid eye drops may be combined with an antibiotic for further effectiveness. They may also be prescribed after eye surgery to help prevent infection.

When using steroid based eye drops, a patient may notice several possible side effects. Stinging may occur when the eye drops first come in contact with the eye, although it should subside quickly. Another possible temporary side effect includes blurred vision.


More serious side effects are possible, as with any medication. Steroid based eye drops may lead to continual eye watering, eye pain, and continual vision problems. A physician should be notified if any of these side effects occur while using steroid eye drops.

Patients who usually wear contact lenses will need to wear glasses during treatment. The use of steroid eye drops while wearing contacts can lead to an increased chance of infection. An ophthalmologist can provide further information on how long the patient should wait before wearing contact lenses again. A patient should typically refrain from contact lenses for at minimum one to two days after treatment is finished.

Proper health and safety guidelines should be followed when using eye drops. This includes washing hands and avoiding let the dropper touch the surface of the eye or eyelid. To prevent possible interactions, a physician should be advised of any other eye drops or medications a patient is currently using.

Use of any eye drops should be done as directed by the physician, especially steroid based eye drops. Apply eye drops for the recommended number of days. Stopping treatment early can allow the condition to present itself again.


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Post 3

Antibiotic eye drops and steroid eye drops are great for pink eye. They're the only treatments that worked for me.

Post 2

@literally-- I don't know about the effects of steroid eye drops for dry eye, but steroid eye drops are not safe to use for the long term.

Steroid eye drops increase intra-ocular pressure (pressure inside the eye) over time and they have even been linked with glaucoma (nerve damage in the eye).

You need to look for another treatment for your chronic dry eye. Steroid eye drops are eye drops for allergies. They are meant to be used for a short period for inflammation only.

Post 1

Do steroid eye drops benefit chronic dry eye?

I have dry eye and I use genteal or refresh eye drops for it. Last month, I got something in my eye which caused some irritation and inflammation. The eye doctor gave me a steroid eye drop to use. I used the eye drops for about a week and my eyes were feeling great. I didn't feel like they were as dry as usual.

I'm thinking about asking my doctor for these eye drops to use on a regular basis if that's possible. Does anyone here have any experience with dry eye and steroid eye drops?

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