FML (Fluorometholone) - Ophthalmic

What Is FML?

FML (fluorometholone) is a prescription medication used to treat eye conditions involving inflammation. FML belongs to a class of drugs called ophthalmic (eye) corticosteroids. Corticosteroids have anti-inflammatory effects, which help reduce swelling, redness, itching, and pain. FML is available as eye drops and an eye ointment.

Drug Facts

Generic Name: Fluorometholone

Brand Name(s): FML, FML Fore Liquifilm, FML Liquifilm, FML S.O.P, Fluor-OP, Flarex

Administration Route(s): Ophthalmic

Drug Availability: Prescription

Therapeutic Classification: Ophthalmological agent

Available Generically: Yes

Controlled Substance: N/A

Active Ingredient: Fluorometholone

Dosage Form(s): Suspension, ointment

What Is FML Used For?

The Food and Drug Administration approved FML to treat eye conditions that cause inflammation, such as allergies (allergic conjunctivitis), severe dry eyes from Sjögren’s syndrome, and eyelid inflammation (blepharitis). Topical steroids, like FML, are often used short term after other treatments have failed since they can cause side effects.

FML should not be used for most viral eye infections, such as epithelial herpes simplex keratitis (dendritic keratitis), vaccinia, and varicella. It also should not be used to treat mycobacterial or fungal infections of the eye.

Fluorometholone Drug Information

Verywell / Dennis Madamba

How to Take FML

FML comes as an ophthalmic suspension (eye drops) and an ophthalmic ointment. FML can be applied one to four times per day, depending on the product and the condition you’re treating. Your healthcare provider may recommend more frequent administration during the first one or two days of treatment to help get your symptoms under control.

Follow these steps for applying each product to ensure you get the best results.

Eye Drops

  • Remove contact lenses before using FML eye drops. 
  • Shake the bottle well. 
  • Tilt your head back, and apply your prescribed number of drops into your eye. Some people find it helpful to lie down. Be careful not to touch the tip of the bottle to your eye or skin since this can cause bacteria to go into the drug and lead to serious eye infections. 
  • After you’ve applied your drops, keep your eyes closed. Apply pressure using your fingers to the inside corner of your eye for one to two minutes. This helps keep the medication in your eye. 
  • If you wear contact lenses, wait 15 minutes before putting them back in.

Eye Ointment

  • Gently pull down your lower eyelid and squeeze the amount of ointment your healthcare provider told you to use (typically a half-inch layer) into your eye. 
  • Be careful not to touch the tip of the tube to your eye or skin. 
  • Keep your eyes closed for one to two minutes.

Storage

Store FML at room temperature with the top tightly secured, and make sure the eye drops are kept in the upright position. Keep FML and all your medications in a safe location, up high and out of the reach of children and pets.

How Long Does FML Take to Work?

FML begins to work the first day you start using it. Most people see the best results within one week. If your symptoms have not improved or have gotten worse after 48 hours, contact your healthcare provider.

What Are the Side Effects of FML?

This is not a complete list of side effects, and others may occur. A medical professional can advise you on side effects. If you experience other effects, contact your pharmacist or a medical professional. You may report side effects to the FDA at www.fda.gov/medwatch or 1-800-FDA-1088.

FML can sometimes cause side effects. Let your healthcare provider know if any of these side effects persist or become bothersome.

Common Side Effects

Common side effects of FML can include:

  • Blurry vision 
  • Change in taste 
  • Eyelid redness
  • Eyelid swelling
  • Feeling like something is in your eye
  • Increased tears 
  • Irritation
  • Itching 
  • Rash 
  • Stinging or burning

Severe Side Effects

Rarely, FML may cause serious side effects, including eye infections, glaucoma, cataracts, and eye damage—especially if used long term. These effects can sometimes be permanent, so be sure to let your healthcare provider know right away if you develop:

  • Eye pain 
  • Very bad eye irritation 
  • Changes in vision

All medications have the potential to cause an allergic reaction, which can sometimes be serious. Stop taking FML and call your healthcare provider right away if you develop any signs or symptoms of an allergic reaction, including:

  • A rash or hives 
  • Chest or throat tightness 
  • Difficulty breathing, swallowing, or talking 
  • Itching 
  • Swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat
  • Unusual hoarseness
  • Wheezing

If your symptoms feel life-threatening, call 911.

Report Side Effects

FML may cause other side effects. Call your healthcare provider if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your provider may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting Program or by phone (800-332-1088).

Dosage: How Much FML Should I Take?

Drug Content Provided and Reviewed by IBM Micromedex®

The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

  • For eye conditions caused by swelling:
    • For ophthalmic dosage form (eye drops):
      • Adults—Use one drop in the affected eye two to four times a day. During the first 24 to 48 hours, you may use this medicine every 4 hours, as directed by your doctor.
      • Children 2 years of age and older—Dose must be determined by your doctor.
      • Children younger than 2 years of age—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
    • For ophthalmic dosage form (eye ointment):
      • Adults—Use a small amount (1/2 inch ribbon) in the affected eye one to three times a day. During the first 24 to 48 hours, you may use this medicine every 4 hours, as directed by your doctor.
      • Children 2 years of age and older—Dose must be determined by your doctor.
      • Children younger than 2 years of age—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.

Missed Dose

If you forget to take your dose of FML, take it as soon as you remember. If it’s almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose. Don’t double up or use extra FML to make up for the missed dose—this could increase your chance of developing side effects.

Overdose: What Happens If I Take Too Much FML?

You should only use FML in your eyes. Never swallow FML or apply it to other body parts.

What Happens If I Overdose on FML?

If you think you or someone else may have overdosed on FML call a healthcare provider or the Poison Control Center (800-222-1222).

If someone collapses or isn't breathing after taking FML, call 911 immediately.

Precautions

Drug Content Provided and Reviewed by IBM Micromedex®

Your eye doctor will want to examine your eye(s) at regular visits to make sure the medicine is working properly and is not causing unwanted effects.

This medicine may increase the pressure inside your eye or cause other eye problems, including glaucoma or cataracts. Slow or delayed healing may also occur while you are using this medicine after cataract surgery. You will need to have regular eye exams with your doctor to check for these problems.

If you hurt your eye or develop an eye infection, talk with your doctor right away. You may need to change your medicine or stop using it.

If your symptoms do not improve within two days or if they becomes worse, check with your doctor.

What Are Reasons I Shouldn’t Take FML?

Some conditions increase your risk of developing complications from FML. Your healthcare provider will likely recommend a different treatment if any of these situations apply to you.

You should not take FML if you have:

  • An allergic reaction to FML or another corticosteroid
  • Certain fungal, mycobacterial, or viral eye infections, including herpes simplex keratitis

What Other Medications Interact With FML?

Taking FML with NSAID eye medications may slow or delay eye healing. NSAID eye products include:

  • Acular (ketorolac)
  • Diclofenac
  • Flurbiprofen
  • Nevanac (nepafenac)
  • Prolensa (bromfenac)

Other medications may interact with FML. Always keep an updated list of all the medicines you take and talk to your doctor or pharmacist before starting anything new.

What Medications Are Similar?

Several other prescription eye corticosteroids are available for the treatment of inflammatory eye conditions. FML is considered a low-potency steroid and causes fewer side effects than other higher-potency products, such as dexamethasone.

Other available ophthalmic corticosteroids include:

  • Durezol (difluprednate)
  • Lotemax (loteprednol)
  • Maxidex (dexamethasone)
  • Pred Forte (prednisolone)
  • Triesence (triamcinolone)

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is FML used for?

    FML is used to treat inflammation caused by certain eye conditions. FML helps reduce redness, swelling, itching, and pain.

  • How long does FML take to work?

    FML will begin to work the first day you start taking it. You’ll likely notice full results within one week.

  • What are the side effects of FML?

    Common side effects of FML include eye irritation, burning or stinging, blurred vision, feeling like something is in your eye, and taste changes.

How Can I Stay Healthy While Taking FML?

Eye inflammation can be a real pain and even impact your ability to function throughout the day if it’s severe. Fortunately, FML is an effective option, especially if other treatments haven’t worked.

It’s important to follow your healthcare provider’s instructions for when to stop taking FML. The longer you use FML, the greater your chance of developing side effects, some of which can be serious.

If you’re still having symptoms, talk with your provider. Together, you’ll come up with a safe treatment plan to get you feeling well.

Medical Disclaimer

Verywell Health's drug information is meant for education purposes only and not intended as a replacement for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a healthcare professional. Consult your doctor before taking any new medication(s). IBM Watson Micromedex provides some of the drug content, as indicated on the page.

Was this page helpful?
6 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Allergan, Inc. FML (fluorometholone ophthalmic suspension, USP) 0.1%. Updated June 2018.

  2. Li Z, Mu G, Chen W, Gao L, et al. Comparative evaluation of topical pranoprofen and fluorometholone in cases with chronic allergic conjunctivitis. Cornea. 2013;32(5):579-582. doi:10.1097/ICO.0b013e318265684b

  3. Shih KC, Lun CN, Jhanji V, et al. Systematic review of randomized controlled trials in the treatment of dry eye disease in Sjogren syndrome. J Inflamm (Lond). 2017;14:26. Published 2017 Nov 21. doi:10.1186/s12950-017-0174-3

  4. Amescua G, Akpek EK, Farid M, et al. Blepharitis preferred practice pattern. Ophthalmology. 2019;126(1):P56-P93. doi:10.1016/j.ophtha.2018.10.019

  5. Food and Drug Administration. Xibrom (bromfenac ophthalmic solution) 0.09%. Updated December 2008.

  6. Musleh MG, Bokre D, Dahlmann-Noor AH. Risk of intraocular pressure elevation after topical steroids in children and adults: a systematic review. Eur J Ophthalmol. 2020;30(5):856-866. doi:10.1177/1120672119885050