What Are Dexamethasone Eye Drops?

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  • Written By: K.C. Bruning
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 28 February 2020
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Dexamethasone eye drops are a corticosteriod drug. They are used to treat pain, redness, and inflammation in the eyes. The drug works by blocking the elements in the body that produce inflammation. Dexamethasone drops are also used less commonly for similar symptoms in the ear. The drug is available as an ointment as well.

Patients recovering from eye surgery are often prescribed Dexamethasone eye drops. They can also be used to treat the effects of radiation, infection, or heat on the eye. The drug can also be used to help with healing after foreign bodies or chemicals have been in the eye.

Cleanliness is one of the most important factors to consider when administrating dexamethasone eye drops. They should be applied with clean hands and the dropper should not touch any surface, including the eyes, in order to avoid contamination. It is also advisable to wash any medication off the hands after use.

After squeezing one to two dexamethasone eye drops, the patient will usually be advised to close the eye and hold still for a few minutes so that the drug can be properly absorbed. It can be helpful to tip the head back so that the drops go into, rather than roll away from the eye. Application may also be more thorough if the lower eyelid is pulled down slightly for insertion.


Some conditions may make taking dexamethasone eye drops too risky, or at least require closer supervision by the prescribing doctor. Patients with diabetes or glaucoma should disclose their condition to a medical professional. The drug may also be problematic for women who are pregnant or nursing. Dexamethasone eye drops can be dangerous for patients who are allergic to dexamethasone and sulfites.

Patients should also inform their prescribing doctor about existing eye infections and any contact lens use before taking the drug. Infections will need to be treated in order to reduce the risk of using dexamethasone eye drops. While patients can wear soft and hard contact lenses while taking the drug, most doctors will advise waiting several minutes after administration of the drops before inserting them.

Common side effects of taking dexamethasone eye drops include red eyes, blurred vision, and sensitivity to light. Patients may also experience stinging, burning, itching, or irritation in the eyes. These symptoms need only be discussed with a doctor if they become more serious or do not go away. Rare severe side effects, such as a drooping eyelid, perforation of the cornea, or an unfamiliar feeling of pressure in the eye, should receive immediate medical attention.



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