Steroids are useful in ophthalmology for treating ocular inflammation.  This is particularly useful after cataract surgery and with internal ocular inflammation such as uveitis.  Steroids can also be useful for decreasing corneal scarring, such as after a trauma or infection. Care must be used with steroids, however, as they can exacerbate infections – viruses and bacteria love steroids as it “makes them strong.”  While short term topical steroids are relatively safe, long-term use may cause some problems. Some people are “steroid responders” and their eye pressure tends to go up while on topical eye drops. This pressure change usually takes a few weeks to kick in and goes away after a couple of weeks off the drops.  Steroids are also associated with premature cataract formation, though this is more of an issue with oral steroids.  Common steroids used by eye doctors are prednisolone acetate (Pred-Forte or Econopred), loteprednol (Lotemax and Alrex) and dexamethasone (usually found in combination drops like Tobradex).

Dr. Timothy Root is a practicing ophthalmologist and cataract surgeon in Daytona Beach, Florida. His books, video lectures, and training resources can be found at:


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