Dexamethasone Ophthalmic

Reviewed on 6/27/2022

What Is Dexamethasone Ophthalmic and How Does It Work?

is a prescription medicine used to treat the symptoms of allergic disorders, skin conditions, ulcerative colitis, arthritis, lupus, psoriasis, or breathing disorders.    

What Are Dosages of Dexamethasone Ophthalmic?

Adult and pediatric dosage

Ophthalmic suspension

  • 0.1% (Maxidex)

Ophthalmic solution

  • 0.1% (various generics)

Inflammatory Ocular Conditions

Adult and pediatric dosage

  • Mild disease: Instill 1-2 drops in the conjunctival sac(s) every 4-6 hours; taper frequency as symptoms subside
  • Severe disease: Instill 1-2 drops in the conjunctival sac(s); may use hourly, and then tapered to discontinue as the inflammation subsides

Dosage Considerations – Should be Given as Follows: 

  • See “Dosages”

What Are Side Effects Associated with Using Dexamethasone Ophthalmic?

Common side effects of Dexamethasone Ophthalmic include:

  • stomach upset,
  • headache, 
  • dizziness,
  • menstrual changes, 
  • trouble sleeping, 
  • increased appetite, or
  • weight gain.

Serious side effects of Dexamethasone Ophthalmic include:

  • signs of infection (e.g., fever, persistent sore throat), 
  • bone/joint pain, 
  • increased thirst/urination, 
  • fast/slow/irregular heartbeat, 
  • eye pain/pressure,
  • vision problems,
  • heartburn
  • black stools, 
  • vomit that looks like coffee grounds,
  • puffy face,
  • swelling of the ankles/feet,
  • stomach/abdominal pain,
  • pain/redness/swelling of arms/legs, 
  • tiredness,
  • mental/mood changes (e.g., depression, mood swings, agitation),
  • unusual hair/skin growth, 
  • muscle pain/cramps, 
  • weakness, 
  • easy bruising/bleeding,
  • slow wound healing, 
  • thinning skin, and
  • seizures

Rare side effects of Dexamethasone Ophthalmic include:

  • none 

Seek medical care or call 911 at once if you have the following serious side effects:

  • Severe headache, confusion, slurred speech, arm or leg weakness, trouble walking, loss of coordination, feeling unsteady, very stiff muscles, high fever, profuse sweating, or tremors;
  • Serious eye symptoms such as sudden vision loss, blurred vision, tunnel vision, eye pain or swelling, or seeing halos around lights;
  • Serious heart symptoms such as fast, irregular, or pounding heartbeats; fluttering in your chest; shortness of breath; and sudden dizziness, lightheartedness, or passing out.

This is not a complete list of side effects and other serious side effects or health problems that may occur as a result of the use of this drug. Call your doctor for medical advice about serious side effects or adverse reactions. You may report side effects or health problems to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What Other Drugs Interact with Dexamethasone Ophthalmic?

If your medical doctor is using this medicine to treat your pain, your doctor or pharmacist may already be aware of any possible drug interactions and may be monitoring you for them. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicine before checking with your doctor, health care provider, or pharmacist first.

  • Dexamethasone Ophthalmic has no noted severe interactions with any other drugs.
  • Dexamethasone Ophthalmic has no noted serious interactions with any other drugs.
  • Dexamethasone Ophthalmic has no noted moderate interactions with any other drugs.
  • Dexamethasone Ophthalmic has no noted minor interactions with any other drugs.

This information does not contain all possible interactions or adverse effects. Visit the RxList Drug Interaction Checker for any drug interactions. Therefore, before using this product, tell your doctor or pharmacist about all your products. Keep a list of all your medications with you and share this information with your doctor and pharmacist. Check with your health care professional or doctor for additional medical advice or if you have health questions or concerns.

What Are Warnings and Precautions for Dexamethasone Ophthalmic?


Effects of drug abuse

  • None

Short-Term Effects

  • See “What Are Side Effects Associated with Using Dexamethasone Ophthalmic?”

Long-Term Effects

  • See “What Are Side Effects Associated with Using Dexamethasone Ophthalmic?”


  • Avoid prolonged treatment, if possible, because of the ocular side effects of glaucoma, secondary infection (herpes simplex), cataract formations, etc
  • May mask infection or enhance existing infection
  • Reduce to the lowest dose, use suspension last, and wait 5min between drops if using multiple drugs
  • Contact lenses should not be worn during the treatment of ophthalmic infections
  • Perforations may occur in diseases that cause thinning of the cornea or sclera
  • The possibility of persistent fungal infections of the cornea should be considered after prolonged corticosteroid dosing
  • The initial prescription and renewal of the medication order should be made by a physician only after examination of the patient with aid of magnification, such as slit-lamp biomicroscopy and, where appropriate, fluorescein staining; if signs and symptoms fail to improve after 2 days, the patient should be re-evaluated

Pregnancy & Lactation

  • There are no adequate or well-controlled studies on pregnant women; should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit to the mother justifies the potential risk to the embryo or fetus
  • However, prolonged or repeated corticoid use during pregnancy has been associated with an increased risk of intrauterine growth retardation
  • Lactation
    • Systemically administered corticosteroids appear in human milk and could suppress growth, interfere with endogenous corticosteroid production, or cause other untoward effects
    • Unknown whether topical administration of corticosteroids could result in sufficient systemic absorption to produce detectable quantities in human milk

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