Topical corticosteroid eye drops reduce inflammation, suppress vascularization (blood vessel formation) and may decrease corneal pigmentation. In many cases, the benefits of corticosteroid eye drops are dramatic and can save vision and promote comfort. However, corticosteroids may have several side effects including delayed corneal healing, increased susceptibility to ocular infection, local irritation, corneal thinning, and corneal mineralization. In rare cases, internal side effects associated with topical administration of corticosteroids have been reported.
We typically prescribe topical corticosteroid medications to control ocular inflammation. We carefully select a particular strength and frequency of corticosteroid, depending on the degree of inflammation at the time of examination.
The topical corticosteroid medication should make your pet feel significantly more comfortable. Besides topical medications, we may consider corticosteriod injections underneath the conjunctival membrane. However, if your pet develops increased squinting, tearing, discharge or starts rubbing at their eye, please stop the medication and call Eye Care for Animals to speak with one of our staff members.
Oral corticosteroid medications are often used to reduce inflammation after eye surgery or to control very severe inflammation. In these cases, corticosteroid pills or injections are very beneficial. However, they may have side effects including increased appetite, thirst, urination, panting and weight gain. Your pet may need to be let outside more frequently throughout the day and may occasionally have uncharacteristic accidents in the house. Occasionally, these medications may result in behavioral changes such as aggressiveness or restlessness. These side effects will resolve as we taper and finally discontinue the medication.
Animals normally produce their own corticosteroids. However, the body will stop making corticosteroids when an external source is supplied. Therefore, when it is time to stop a systemic corticosteroid treatment, it is important to gradually withdraw it so that they body will have time to start producing them again. Abruptly discontinuing a high dose or long-term use of an oral corticosteroid can lead to shock and an emergency situation. Therefore, it is very important to follow the label instructions very closely and to not stop them early unless consulting with your veterinarian first.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding corticosteroids, please call Eye Care for Animals.