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Dexamethasone (ophthalmic)

Generic name: dexamethasone (ophthalmic) [ DEX-a-METH-a-sone-off-THAL-mik ]
Brand name: Maxidex
Dosage forms: ophthalmic solution (0.1%), ophthalmic suspension (0.1%)
Drug class: Ophthalmic steroids

Medically reviewed by on Nov 20, 2023. Written by Cerner Multum.

What is dexamethasone ophthalmic?

Dexamethasone ophthalmic (for the eyes) is a steroid medicine used to treat eye inflammation caused by allergies, shingles (herpes zoster), severe acne, iritis, uveitis, eye injury, radiation, chemical burns, or certain other conditions.

Dexamethasone ophthalmic may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Dexamethasone ophthalmic side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Dexamethasone may cause serious side effects. Call your doctor at once if you have:

Common side effects of dexamethasone may include:

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.


You should not use dexamethasone if you have an eye infection (including herpes simplex).

Before taking this medicine

You should not use dexamethasone if you are allergic to it, or if you have an eye infection (including herpes simplex).

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

Using dexamethasone ophthalmic long-term may harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

It may not be safe to breast-feed while using this medicine. Ask your doctor about any risk.

Dexamethasone ophthalmic is not approved for use by anyone younger than 18 years old.

How should I use dexamethasone ophthalmic?

Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Use the medicine exactly as directed.

Shake the eye drops well just before each use.

Wash your hands before using the eye drops.

Tilt your head back slightly and pull down your lower eyelid to create a small pocket. Hold the dropper above the eye and squeeze a drop into this pocket. Close your eyes for 1 or 2 minutes.

Use only the number of drops your doctor has prescribed.

Do not touch the tip of the eye dropper or place it directly on your eye. A contaminated dropper can infect your eye, which could lead to serious vision problems.

Do not use while wearing soft contact lenses. Use the medicine at least 15 minutes before inserting your contact lenses.

If you use dexamethasone for longer than 10 days, you may need frequent vision tests to check the pressure inside your eyes.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Do not freeze. Keep the bottle tightly closed when not in use.

You should not stop using this medicine suddenly. Follow your doctor's instructions about tapering your dose.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Use the medicine as soon as you can, but skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. Do not use two doses at one time.

What happens if I overdose?

An overdose of dexamethasone ophthalmic is not expected to be dangerous. Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222 if anyone has accidentally swallowed the medication.

What should I avoid while using dexamethasone ophthalmic?

Do not share dexamethasone with another person, even if they have the same symptoms you have.

What other drugs will affect dexamethasone ophthalmic?

Medicine used in the eyes is not likely to be affected by other drugs you use. But many drugs can interact with each other. Tell each of your healthcare providers about all medicines you use, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

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