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What Are Prednisone Eye Drops?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 17, 2024
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Prednisone eye drops are a medication a doctor may prescribe to treat severe inflammation in a patient's eye. This medication is intended for short term use, and patients should report any side effects they experience to their doctors. Pharmacies typically stock prednisone eye drops and may have several different products, including eye ointment for patients who do not tolerate drops, and combination products with other medications in addition to the prednisone.

Eye inflammation may be the result of infection, allergies, or surgery. Prednisone will limit the inflammatory response and reduce swelling, redness, and itching. A doctor may recommend prednisone eye drops with an antibiotic for patients with infections, as prednisone alone will not resolve the problem and can actually make it worse by depressing the immune system and allowing the infectious organisms to grow more rapidly in the eye. In other cases, the patient may need a separate set of antibiotic eye drops to manage the infection.

Patients with glaucoma and a recent history of cataract surgery should not use prednisone drops without discussing the situation with a doctor, as they can be at risk for increased side effects. This medication can also be dangerous for patients with herpes simplex virus (HSV) because the immune suppression may make the viral infection worse. The doctor may want to adjust the dosage slightly for such patients so they can get the benefits of prednisone with a lower risk of side effects.

To use prednisone eye drops, the patient will need to face up, hold the eye open, and apply the prescribed number of drops, allowing them to diffuse across the eye before blinking. It can be advisable to place a pinky over the tear duct to prevent the medication from dripping through. Patients should blink gently after applying the drops, as otherwise they could expel the medication. If patients have trouble taking the drops they can ask about the ointment version of this medication.

Prednisone eye drops often sting slightly on application, but the pain should resolve in a few seconds. If it persists or grows worse, this can be a cause for concern. Blurred vision is also an undesirable side effect. Patients should discuss these side effects with their doctors to determine if prednisone eye drops are safe for use, or if it would be better to switch to a different medication. Unusual eye discharges, itching, or redness are also signs of a potential bad reaction.

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Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGeek researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By literally45 — On Mar 13, 2013

I had pink eye last month. My eye was extremely red, swollen and painful. I couldn't even touch it. I avoided the doctor for three days thinking it would get better but it got worse. I finally went and my doctor prescribed this eye drop for me.

I never realized medicated eye drops could make such a difference. Within a few hours, the swelling went down. It took another few days for the redness to completely go away but I'm sure it would have lasted much longer without the drops.

By stoneMason — On Mar 13, 2013

@ankara-- No, it's not. Prednisone is not safe for use when the body is dealing with a serious infection. The body needs the immune system at this time and one of prednisone side effects is that it prevents the immune system from working properly.

Prednisone is a corticosteroid, it's a steroid. Steroid use is not advised for Lyme disease patients, even if it's in eye drops.

By bluedolphin — On Mar 12, 2013

Is prednisone eye drops safe for someone with Lyme disease?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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