Fluorometholone for Eye Inflammation and Swelling

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Fluorometholone is a corticosteroid used to treat conditions of the eye that cause inflammation and swelling. Your doctor may order this drug if you have an eye infection, injury, surgery, or another condition. Fluorometholone is known by several brand names, including:

  • Flarex
  • FML Forte Liquifilm
  • FML Liquifilm
  • FML S.O.P. 

Fluorometholone is only available with a prescription from a health care provider. It comes in the form of an ointment or eye drops. Typically, it’s stored at room temperature, but you may be instructed to refrigerate the eye drops.

Uses

When long-term, corticosteroid treatment of the eye is necessary, research shows that fluorometholone is a preferred medication option because it’s less likely to increase intraocular pressure as compared to other medications in the class of drugs.

There are a variety of eye conditions in which fluorometholone may be used, according to the Prescriber’s Digital Resources (PDR), an online database providing drug information to healthcare professionals. Those conditions include:

  • Allergic conjunctivitis
  • Heat or chemical burns to the eye
  • Injury to the cornea
  • Giant papillary conjunctivitis (GPC), a type of allergic reaction where bumps occur under the eyelid due to irritation
  • Keratitis, or inflammation of the cornea
  • Inflammation of the eye following surgery
  • Vernal keratoconjunctivitis (VKC), a serious allergy that affects the surface of the eye and is most common in boys
  • Chronic anterior uveitis (CAU), inflammation that affects the anterior part of the eye

How It's Taken

Your doctor will prescribe an individualized dose for you and let you know how often you should take it depending on the nature and severity of your eye condition. Try to remain consistent with the dosing schedule and refrain from taking too much or too little of the drug; fluorometholone should not be used in a manner other than the way your doctor prescribed it.

Also, if you wear contact lenses, remove them before you place the medication into your eye—some contact lenses can absorb fluorometholone. You may insert your contacts 15 minutes after using the medication, unless otherwise noted by your doctor.

Below are some additional guidelines to help you understand how to properly take the drug:

Eye Drops

  1. Wash your hands before and after you use the medication.
  2. This medication is for topical use only.
  3. Before you use the medication, shake the bottle to distribute the contents.
  4. Tilt your head upward and gently pull your lower eyelid down.
  5. Drop the recommended number of drops into your eye; avoid touching the tip of the eyedropper with your fingers or touching it to your eye.
  6. Close your eye to allow the medication to spread throughout your entire eye.
  7. Place the eyedropper into the bottle and close it.
  8. Take the next course of the medication as indicated by your health care provider.

Eye Ointment

  1. Wash your hands before and after you use the medication.
  2. Tilt your head backward and gently lower your eyelid.
  3. Squeeze the prescribed amount of medication in the space between your lower eyelid and your eyeball.
  4. Avoid touching the tip of the ointment dispenser with your fingers or directly to your eye.
  5. Close your eyes for one to two minutes, or as advised by your physician.
  6. Using a clean tissue, wipe the tip of the medication clean, and replace the cap.

If you miss a dose of the medication, apply it as soon as you’re able. If it’s close to the time that you usually take your medication, forgo the missed dose and resume your normal medication schedule. Finally, if you’re using fluorometholone, don’t share your medication, or eye products (like eye makeup, contact lens solution, etc.) with others.

Side Effects

There are some side effects associated with fluorometholone, and they can range from mild to more severe. Mild side effects can include:

  • Burning, itching, stinging, or irritation of the eye
  • Redness of the eye
  • The feeling like you have something in your eye
  • Blurry vision
  • Eyelids that are red, swollen, or puffy
  • Drooping of your eyelid

If the medication gets absorbed into the bloodstream, you may experience more serious side effects. Examples of moderate to severe side effects are as follows:

  • Noticeable weight gain, particularly in the face or upper body
  • Wounds seem to take longer to heal
  • An increase in body hair
  • The skin appears to be thinning
  • Menstrual periods become irregular
  • Altered sexual function
  • Muscle weakness and fatigue
  • Mood changes like depression and anxiety

If you experience signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction, consult with your doctor immediately or seek emergency care if you have difficulty breathing or swallowing. Potential allergic reactions include:

  • Hives
  • Swelling of the face, tongue, throat, or lips
  • Difficulty breathing

Precautions

If you’ve had an allergic reaction to fluorometholone or other corticosteroids in the past, you’ll want to avoid this medication. Additionally, if you have an eye infection caused by certain viruses, such as a herpes infection, shingles, or a fungal infection of the eye, this medication may not be right for you.

Let your doctor know if you’re fighting an infection elsewhere in your body—your doctor may decide against the use of this drug in this situation.

Also, let your doctor know if you are taking any over-the-counter medications, herbs, or supplements so that they can determine if they might interfere with the use of the drug.

Fluorometholone and Babies

It’s not known how fluorometholone interacts with babies, so be sure to tell your doctor if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. Also, this medication may not be appropriate for children under the age of two. 

A Word From Verywell

Take your medication as prescribed by your physician. If you have any questions or concerns about using fluorometholone, be sure to speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Also, if you don’t feel like the medication is helping or you experience unwanted side effects, let your doctor know so they can reevaluate which treatment options may be right for you.

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Article Sources

  • Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center. Vernal keratoconjunctivitis.

  • Pleyer U, Ursell PG, Rama P. Intraocular Pressure Effects of Common Topical Steroids for Post-Cataract Inflammation: Are They All the Same? Ophthalmology and Therapy. 2013;2(2):55–72. doi:10.1007/s40123-013-0020-5.

  • Prescriber's Digital Reference. Fluorometholone - Drug Summary.

  • U.S. National Library of Medicine. Fluorometholone (Into the eye).