Betamethasone eye drops/ointment are usually prescribed by an eye specialist.
Use the drops regularly every 1-2 hours until your symptoms are controlled, and then several times a day for a few days.
Side-effects may include mild stinging or irritation.
About betamethasone eye drops and eye ointment
|Type of medicine||Corticosteroid eye preparation|
|Used for||To treat eye inflammation|
|Also called||Betamethasone sodium phosphate
Brands include: Betnesol®, Vistamethasone®, and Betnesol-N® (betamethasone with neomycin)
|Available as||Eye drops and eye ointment|
Betamethasone eye drops and ointment are used to treat short-term inflammatory eye conditions. They are usually prescribed by an eye specialist. They contain a corticosteroid (sometimes called a 'steroid') which helps relieve inflammation, redness and irritation.
Some betamethasone eye drops also contain an anti-infective medicine called neomycin. These drops are sometimes used to prevent infections developing following eye surgery.
Before using betamethasone eye drops/ointment
To make sure this is the right treatment for you, before you start using betamethasone it is important that your doctor knows:
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to any eye drops or other medicine.
- If you think you may have an eye infection.
- If you wear soft contact lenses.
- If you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
- If you are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
How to use betamethasone eye drops
- First wash your hands.
- Remove the cap.
- Tilt your head back a little and pull the lower lid of your eye downwards to form a pocket.
- Hold the bottle upside down near to your eye. Try not to touch your eye as you do this.
- Apply enough pressure to release one drop into your eye.
- Close your eye for a minute or two, and press gently on the side of your nose where the corner of your eye meets your nose. This helps to stop the drop from draining away and keeps it in your eye.
- Repeat the process in your other eye if you have been told to use the drops in both eyes.
- Replace the cap.
How to use betamethasone eye ointment
- First wash your hands.
- Remove the cap from the tube.
- Pull the lower lid of your eye downwards to form a pocket.
- Hold the tube upside down near to your eye.
- Squeeze the tube to release a thin line of ointment along the inside of your lower eye lid. Try not to touch your eye with the end of the tube as you do this.
- Blink a few times to spread the ointment around the inside of your eye.
- Repeat the process in your other eye if you have been told to use it in both eyes.
- Replace the cap on the tube.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Before you use these eye drops/ointment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from the pack. The leaflet will give you more information about betamethasone and a full list of possible side-effects.
- Use the eye drops and/or ointment exactly as your doctor has told you to. Unless you have been told otherwise, use the drops every 1-2 hours (while you are awake) on the first two days until your symptoms are controlled, and then several times a day for the next few days. If you have been prescribed eye ointment to use as well as drops, you should use the ointment at night only. If you have been prescribed eye ointment only (without any drops), then you should apply it 2-4 times a day.
- Betamethasone eye drops and ointment are only meant to be used for a short period of time. Do not use them for longer than one week unless your doctor advises you otherwise. This is because they can cause problems within your eye when used for longer than recommended.
- Take care not to touch the tip of the dropper or tube with your eye, fingers, or any other surface. This will help to prevent the risk of infection.
- When first put in, eye preparations may cause blurred vision. This should quickly clear, but make sure you can see properly before you drive or use tools or machines, as otherwise you may put yourself and others at risk.
- If you are using any other eye drops or ointments, leave about ten minutes between applying each one.
- If your symptoms do not improve within a few days, or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
- Do not wear soft contact lenses while you are using betamethasone eye preparations unless your doctor has advised you otherwise. This is because they contain a preservative which may affect soft contact lenses.
Can betamethasone eye preparations cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.
|Common betamethasone eye drop/ointment side-effects||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Mild irritation or stinging in the eye||This should quickly pass. If the discomfort continues, speak with your doctor|
|Blurred vision||This usually disappears within a few minutes. Do not drive or use machinery unless you can see clearly|
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
How to store betamethasone eye drops/ointment
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
- Eye preparations only keep for four weeks once the bottle/tube has been opened, so throw away the container after you have finished using it. Do not keep opened bottles or tubes to use another time.
Important information about all medicines
If you suspect that someone has swallowed some of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.
This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.
If you are having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are using.
Never keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.
If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are safe to use with your other medicines.
If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.
Further reading & references
- British National Formulary; 65th Edition (Mar 2013) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London
|Original Author: Helen Allen||Current Version: Helen Allen||Peer Reviewer: Dr John Cox|
|Last Checked: 22/04/2013||Document ID: 3712 Version: 23||© EMIS|
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.