What to Know About Prednisolone Eye Drops

A steroid drug approved to treat eye redness, irritation, and inflammation

Prednisolone eye drops are a steroid medication for the eyes. This medication can reduce some types of irritation, swelling, and redness caused by allergies or exposure to heat, radiation, chemicals, or foreign bodies.

This article explores the various uses of prednisolone eye drops, what you should expect when using them, and what side effects you might experience. It also discusses warnings and interactions you should be aware of before using this medication.

Young woman applying eye drops

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Prednisolone Eye Drops Uses

Prednisolone is approved to treat mild to moderate non-infectious causes of eye irritation, including redness, swelling, and burning caused by chemicals, radiation, heat, allergies, or objects in the eye. Eye irritation due to severe acne and shingles may also warrant the use of prednisolone eye drops.

Prednisolone eye drops may also be prescribed after cataract surgery. They are also used after corneal graft transplant surgery to prevent the body from rejecting the graft.

Common brand names of prednisolone include AK-Pred, Econopred, Omnipred, Pred Mild, Inflamase Forte, and Pred Forte. Prednisolone is also used in combination with other ocular medications such as sulfacetamide or neomycin.

Who Should Not Use Prednisolone Eye Drops?

Prednisolone eye drops should not be used in people who have eye irritation due to an active bacterial, viral, or fungal infection. Before prescribing prednisolone, your healthcare provider will check your eyes to be sure that the cause of the irritation is understood.

How to Use Them

Follow the instructions given to you by your healthcare provider. If you wear contacts, make sure you take them out before administering the drops and wait 15 minutes or more before putting them back in.

Before using prednisolone eye drops, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly. Shake the bottle before use if instructed to do so on the label. Inspect the dropper for signs of damage such as cracks, and avoid touching the dropper with your fingers or anything else to prevent contamination.

Follow these instructions for applying the eye drops:

  1. Tilt your head back and, with a clean or gloved index finger, pull back your lower eyelid.
  2. Hold the dropper tip with your other hand, pointing into the open lid. Look up and drop one drop into the lid. Do not let the dropper tip touch your eye or eyelid.
  3. Keep your eye closed for two to three minutes with your face towards the floor. Avoid squeezing your eyes shut or blinking.
  4. If you are prescribed more than one drop at a time, wait five to 10 minutes or as instructed by your eye care provider before placing in another drop.
  5. Remove excess medication with a tissue or clean, dry cloth.
  6. Replace the cap on the dropper and do not rinse or wash it. Wash your hands after applying your eye drops.
  7. Repeat as prescribed or as instructed by your eye care provider.
  8. Take all of your medication, even if you begin to feel better.

How Often Should I Use Them?

The dose depends on the medication's strength. Be sure to follow the instructions your healthcare provider gave you. These instructions should also appear on the prescription label.

The adult dose for Omnipred eye drops is typically 2 drops in the affected eye 4 times a day. For Pred Forte, the adult dose is typically 2 drops in the affected eye 2 to 4 times a day. 

For children, the dose is determined by your child's healthcare provider.

If you miss a dose, do not take a double amount at the same time. Take the missed dose as soon as possible, as long as it isn’t already time for your next dose. Space your doses as prescribed by your eye care provider, usually every two to three hours during the day.

How Long Can I Continue Using Them?

Prednisolone eye drops are for short-term use. Follow the guidelines given by your healthcare provider and do not use for a longer period of time than instructed. In most cases, you should not use them for longer than one week. 

Notify your healthcare provider if your symptoms haven't improved after the first two days of use, or if you still have symptoms after you complete your whole prescription. Your healthcare provider may re-examine you to determine if you have an underlying condition, such as an infection. After you complete your course of prednisolone eye drops, your healthcare provider will need to examine you before renewing your prescription, if necessary.

Side Effects

Prednisolone may cause side effects. Tell your healthcare provider if you experience any common or severe side effects, such as:


Common side effects of prednisolone eye drops include:

  • Mild burning or stinging of the eyes
  • Blurry vision
  • Eye irritation


More severe side effects require emergency medical attention and include:

  • Blurred vision, tunnel vision, seeing a halo effect around lights
  • Eye pain or pain behind your eyes
  • Patches of white or yellow on your eyes
  • Any signs of infections such as pus, leakage, crustiness, swelling, and redness

If you develop symptoms of an allergy such as hives, swelling of your throat, lips, face, or tongue, or trouble breathing, get emergency medical care right away.

Warnings and Interactions

Prednisolone eye drops may cause eye and vision problems, especially with long-term use. Some of these problems may include:

  • Eye Infection: Since extended use of steroids can weaken your immune system, you may be at an increased risk for eye infections if you use this medication.
  • Cataracts: Using this medication for longer than 10 days can increase your risk of developing cataracts.
  • Damage to the eye: Your risk of optic nerve damage and vision defects may also increase with prolonged use. Your cornea and sclera may also become thinner with prolonged use of steroid drops. Your healthcare provider will monitor these potential health risks closely.
  • Glaucoma: Some people are known as "steroid responders" in which steroid eye drop use will increase the pressure of the eye, leading to glaucoma. Your eye pressure will be checked at each follow-up by your eye care provider to make certain you are not a "steroid responder" and the medication is not increasing your pressure. If you have a family history of glaucoma or you have glaucoma, ask your healthcare provider if you should use an eye drop that's less likely to increase eye pressure.

Be sure to tell your healthcare provider if you have any conditions that affect the eye, such as:

  • Glaucoma
  • Cataracts
  • Diabetes
  • Bacterial, viral, or fungal infections

Tell your healthcare provider if you have allergies or wear contacts.

If you are or might become pregnant while taking prednisolone eye drops, tell your healthcare provider. Additionally, if you are breastfeeding, you should not take prednisolone.

Be sure to read the warning instructions that come with your medication. Prednisolone eye drops are only to be taken in the eyes, not in the mouth or elsewhere. If you or anyone else swallows this medication, drink plenty of water, and call poison control.

Medication Interactions

Notify your healthcare provider of any other medications and supplements you take. Certain medications should not be used with prednisolone eye drops. These include:

  • Other eye medications: Do not take any other eye medications while taking prednisolone eye drops unless you have your healthcare provider’s permission. 
  • Certain vaccines: Do not get a smallpox vaccine or a live rotavirus vaccine if you are taking prednisolone eye drops.

How to Store Them

Store prednisolone eye drops in its original container, making sure it’s sealed tightly, placed upright, and out of children’s reach. You should avoid storing it in a humid or warm area such as the bathroom. The ideal temperature for storage is between 15°C -30°C (59°-86°F).

You should be able to travel with prednisolone eye drops as long as you declare the medication properly. You can take the medication in your checked luggage or less than 3.4 ounces (100 ml) on carry-on bags when declared.

The poison control toll-free nationwide number:



Prednisolone eye drops are a prescription medication used to treat irritation, redness, and swelling caused by allergies, chemical exposure, a foreign body in the eye, etc. They are not used to treat infections caused by microorganisms such as viruses and bacteria.

Prednisolone eye drops are for short-term use. Before using them, discuss all of your medications and conditions with your healthcare provider, especially any conditions of the eye you might have. Prednisolone may cause eye problems such as cataracts and glaucoma. For this reason, they should only be used as directed by your healthcare provider.

2 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. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Prednisolone ophthalmic.

  2. Transportation Security Administration. What can I bring?

By Rachel Macpherson
Rachel MacPherson is a health writer, certified personal trainer, and exercise nutrition coach based in Montreal.