Corticosteroids Eye Preparations

Medication Information Leaflet

What is this medication for?

Corticosteroids eye preparations act in the same way as steroid hormones produced within our body. They reduce eye inflammation and reduce symptoms of swelling, redness, and itchiness in the eyes.

These medications are used to treat various conditions such as severe dry eyes, allergic eye conditions, thyroid eye disease, and inflammatory eye conditions. They may also be used to prevent rejection after cornea transplants and to reduce inflammation after eye surgeries.

Corticosteroids eye preparations may come in eye drop, eye suspension or eye ointment formulations.

Examples of corticosteroids 
How should I take/use this medication?
  • Proper use of eye preparations

  • If you need to use more than 1 drop of medication, or if you are using another type of eye drop, wait at least 5 to 10 minutes before applying the next eye drop. This is to prevent the first drop of medication from being washed away by the second drop of medication before it has time to work. This also prevents any medication interactions between different eye drops.

  • If your doctor prescribed both eye drops and eye ointments, you should use the eye drops first.

  • For contact lens wearers

    • It may not be advisable to wear contact lenses for certain eye conditions during treatment. Check with your healthcare professional if you need to wear contact lenses.

  • Do not stop using your medication without checking with your healthcare professional.

What should I do if I forget to take/use this medication?

If you forget to use a dose, use it as soon as you remember. Then use your next dose at the usual time. Do not use two doses to make up for the missed dose.

What precautions should I take?

Inform your healthcare professional if:

  • You are allergic to this medication or any of the other ingredients of this medication.

  • You are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding.

  • You are taking any other medications, including supplements, traditional medications, and herbal remedies.

  • You are using any other eye preparations.

  • You have any bacterial, viral or fungal infection in your body.

What are some common side-effects of this medication?

  • Eye stinging or burning sensation

  • Eye redness

  • Eye irritation

  • Vision blurring

    • Vision blurring is more common with use of eye ointments.

    • Avoid driving or engaging in activities that require concentration (such as using machinery).

These symptoms are usually mild and will go away after some time. Check with your healthcare professional if these conditions are severe or do not improve.

  • Increase in eye pressure/glaucoma

    • The doctor will monitor your eye pressure while you are on this medication.

  • Increase risk of eye infections

  • Increase risk of cataract formation

    • Check with your healthcare professional if you have blurring of vision or any other changes in vision that do not go away.

  • Headache

    • Headaches are less likely to happen with the use of eye drops. You may press down gently on the inner corner of your eye for 1 to 2 minutes after applying the medication to reduce the chance of headaches occurring.

    • You may choose to take paracetamol to help with the headache. If the headaches are frequent or do not go away, please check with your healthcare professional.

What are some rare but serious side-effects that I need to seek medical advice immediately?

Corticosteroids eye preparations are unlikely to cause allergies but you may have allergy to other ingredients in the formulation such as preservatives.

The symptoms of a drug allergy include one or more of the following:

  • Swollen face/eyes/lips/tongue

  • Difficulty in breathing

  • Itchy skin rashes around your eyes or over your whole body

If you experience any of these symptoms, you should stop your medication and see your healthcare professional immediately.

How should I store this medication?

  • Store in a cool and dry place, away from direct sunlight.

  • For multi-dose bottle/tube

    • Record the date opened on the eye drop bottle/ eye ointment tube. Discard this medication one month after opening.

  • For preservative-free tubes/vials

    • Discard immediately after use or within 12 hours after opening. Please follow storage instructions on your medication label.

  • Keep this medication away from children.

How should I throw away this medication safely?

Pack this medication into a black trash bag and seal it tightly before throwing it into the rubbish chute or bin.


Please take note that the above is not a complete list of all possible side effects. If you have any concerns about your medication or if you have other side effects that you think are caused by this medication, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.

If you take more than the recommended dose, please seek medical advice immediately. The information provided on this page does not replace information from your healthcare professional. Please consult your healthcare professional for more information.

This article is jointly developed by members of the National Medication Information workgroup. The workgroup consists of cluster partners (National Healthcare Group, National University Health System and SingHealth), community pharmacies (Guardian, Unity and Watsons) and Pharmaceutical Society of Singapore. The content does not reflect drug availability and supply information in pharmacies and healthcare institutions. You are advised to check with the respective institutions for such information.

Last updated on Dec 2022

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