Frequently asked questions about eye drops after cataract surgery

My standard practice after routine cataract surgery is to use a combination of anti-inflammatory steroid drops and antibiotic drops. I currently use dexamethasone 0.1% drops (Maxidex) and chloramphenicol drops.

My current practice is to use both drops (Maxidex and chloramphenicol) four times a day for two weeks. The Maxidex drops can be used twice a day for a further two weeks and stopped. The chloramphenicol drops can be stopped after two weeks.

No, there is no requirement to put your eye drops after cataract surgery at specific intervals. There will be no adverse effects if there is a slight delay for any reason.

Putting in eye drops is challenging and needs practice. Our nurses will be able to instruct you as how to best put in your eye drops. I have a video tutorial about eye drops here which explains the steps. If you have difficulty putting in drops yourself, ask your spouse or a relative to put them in. This is a sensible alternative. Sometimes we have to ask a district nurse to come and put the drops in if you are unable to do it. Especially if you do not have anyone available to help. There are also the options of using a specially designed eye drop applicator such as the one here.

Yes – if you think you missed your eye with your first eye drop then repeat and instil a second eye drop.

The manufacturer’s recommendation is to store them between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius. In other words, you should keep them in a refrigerator and away from direct sunlight. This is because the antibiotic effect of the medicine is reduced as a result of thermal degradation. Chloramphenicol drops won’t be effective or prevent infection if they are not stored at this temperature.

The recommendation for Maxidex drops is to store them in a cool, dry place at a temperature less than 25 degrees Celsius. Preferably do not leave them in the bathroom near a sink. Damp and heat can reduce the effectiveness of the medicine.

I recommend that you wait for 2 minutes between each drop. Due to that, you allow the first drop to be properly absorbed by the eye and not be washed out by the second drop.

I recommend that you do not risk contaminating the bottle tip with bacteria. That can be commonly found on your lid edges or conjunctiva and simply replace this bottle with a new bottle next time.

These drops may have a slight sting to them when inserted into the eye but should not be very painful. If you are experiencing severe stinging, there could be a chance that you may have developed a topical allergy to the drop. I would recommend that you see your eye surgeon to diagnose this and they may prescribe the same drops in the preservative –free form or an alternative.

This is normal because there is a drainage channel from the edge of your eyelid (the punctum) into your nose. This is also going down into your throat. If you administer several drops into the eye, the medicine can drain freely into your throat. If you do that, you may taste it. To avoid this, I would suggest that you use only one or two drops in the eye and press over the inner eyelid to stop the drops entering the nose and throat. Do not worry; there is no harm done if they do drain into your nose or throat.

The use of anti-inflammatory and antibiotic eye drops has revolutionised the recovery time after cataract surgery. It is an integral part of the post-operative regime I ask my patients to adhere to. Most of my patients do very well with their drops after cataract surgery.

If you would like to know any more about any aspect of cataract surgery or drops that are used after cataract surgery, contact and I am happy to discuss things further.