Steroid eye drops are typically administered in the treatment of various eye ailments that include dry eyes and arthritis flare-ups within the eye. Steroids work in the same way that cortisol, a natural body substance, works. In a nutshell, cortisol is responsible for controlling inflammation when you have an eye disease. It also prevents scarring after surgeries or possible eye injuries.

Ophthalmic steroids are eye medications specially formulated for eye treatment containing corticosteroids or simply steroids. These steroids aid in curing inflammation and relieving symptoms of swelling, redness, pain, or irritation. They are usually used after the occurrence of an eye injury or surgery.

Examples of ophthalmic steroids include:

 

Lotemax

For those who are allergic to loteprednol or have any kind of viral, bacterial or fungal eye infection, this medicine is not recommended. Furthermore, treatment with Lotemax should be discontinued after two days if there are no signs of improvement. Consult your doctor if you experience Lotemax side effects which include vision disturbance, burning, stinging, or severe pain sensations when using the eye drops.

A Lotemax alternative is:

 

Prednisolone Acetate

Prednisolone ac 1 eye drop is a sterile eye medication used in the treatment of inflammatory conditions arising from infections, surgery, and injury. It is also effective in controlling swelling caused by bacterial infections.

Even though it’s generally believed that steroid eye drops don’t pose any serious health problems if used properly, they do, however, have side effects – both minor and major.

 

Minor Side Effects

Steroid eye drops can cause minor side effects or allergic reactions. Burning or stinging sensations, metallic taste, and blurred vision are all possible minor side effects. Allergic reactions may include redness, swelling or itching of the eyes. In extreme allergy cases, there could be breathing problems requiring immediate medical attention.

Here are some other important facts to know about using steroid eye drops:

 

1. Steroid use may lead to the formation of cataracts

Major side effects of cataract formation may be rare but not non-existent. Steroid eye drops have the potential to form sub-capsular cataracts due to long-term steroid use. Cataracts are an eye condition that lead to your eye lens becoming opaque. The result of this opacity is reduced vision. When this happens, the only way to treat or remedy the situation involves undergoing cataract surgery to remove the opaque lens and replace it with an intraocular lens.

In the U.S., cataracts affect more than 24 million people aged 40 and above. However, it is not clear just how many of these people had been using eye steroids prior to developing cataracts.

 

2. Steroids may lower ocular immune response leading to infection

Steroid usage tends to suppress the body’s natural immune response leading to dormant fungal or viral eye infections gaining activity. Any signs of pain or vision disturbance could very well indicate an upcoming infection. Therefore, see a doctor as soon as possible if your eyes feel odd.

 

3. Steroids may lead to high intraocular eye pressure

Glaucoma, often described as having high intraocular eye pressure, is a serious eye ailment that often has no symptoms.  For some people, steroid eye drops cause an increase in eye pressure leading to glaucoma. Glaucoma is particularly disastrous because it leads to irreparable damage of the optic nerve and, if not treated, could cause permanent loss of vision.

 

4. Steroid use needs to be tapered off properly

Steroid eye drops, if used for a long time, need to be tapered off properly. This means if you have been taking them regularly and consistently for a period of time, you can’t just stop using them suddenly because you think you’re already feeling better. Follow your doctor’s advice and taper off steroid medication gradually if you don’t want a recurrence of the condition you are being treated for.

 

5. Follow your doctor’s advice concerning steroids

Make sure you follow the correct dosage instructions and keep your doctor’s appointments while using this type of medication. Be well-informed of potential steroid eye drop side effects before they cause any serious eye damage. With this said, it’s also important that you don’t start using steroids without proper consultation with an ophthalmologist or optometrist. Just because you can purchase this medication over-the-counter doesn’t mean you should just use it as you please.

 

Use steroids for their designated purpose for best results

Topical steroids can be very beneficial if properly prescribed for the prevention of vision conditions, inflammation, and ensuring comfort in wearing contact lenses. In order to get the best results from this medication, it is imperative that you use it as recommended.

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