Skip to Content

Polyvinyl Alcohol

Excipient (pharmacologically inactive substance)

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Oct 12, 2020.

What is it?

Polyvinyl alcohol (C2H4O)x is a water-soluble synthetic polymer. It is used to increase viscosity in pharmaceuticals and as a lubricant and protectant in ophthalmic preparations. Polyvinyl alcohol is often found in over-the-counter eye redness and eye lubricant ("Tears") eye drops. Polyvinyl alcohol is the lubricant, and works by providing moisture to the eye, which helps relieve dryness and protects the eye from becoming more irritated.[1]

Top Medications with this excipient


[1] Phenylephrine/Polyvinyl alcohol drops. Accessed March 31, 2012.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.