Ocular Drug Formulations

Solutions and suspensions are the most common formulation of ocular medications. Like other medications, ocular drugs contain inactive ingredients, including preservatives, agents to increase viscosity, antioxidants, wetting agents, buffers, and agents to adjust tonicity. Preservatives control growth of microorganisms that may be introduced into the solution accidentally. Some of these agents can stain contact lenses or have a high incidence of hypersensitivity reactions. Ocular ointments are ideal for prolonged contact of the drug with the eye. Ointments can cause blurry vision; the patient should be informed of the possibility of a temporary decrease or blurring of vision. Drugs formulated into ocular gels also serve as vehicles for prolonged contact of the drug with the eye. Sometimes the use of multiple ocular medications is necessary, in which instance drops should be administered no less than 5 min apart to allow for adequate drug-tissue contact time and to prevent one drug from diluting the other. When using an ointment and solution, apply the solution before the ointment, since it can retard the entry of subsequent ocular drops.

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