Many ophthalmic preparations are used in the practice of medicine. You
probably know solutions, suspensions, and ointments are commonly used as
ophthalmic products. Most ophthalmic products are no longer prepared in the
pharmacy. However, you should be familiar with some of the characteristics of these
DEFINITION OF OPHTHALMIC PREPARATIONS
Ophthalmic preparations are sterile products that are intended to be applied to
the eyelids or placed in the space between the eyelids and the eyeball.
TYPES OF OPHTHALMIC PREPARATIONS
Three types of ophthalmic preparations are commonly encountered in the
pharmacy. Each type of preparation has its advantages and disadvantages.
a. Solutions. Ophthalmic solutions are rather easily placed into the eye.
However, care must be taken to ensure the solution remains in the eye in order to
produce the desired therapeutic effect. Ophthalmic solutions usually do not impair or
interfere with the vision of the patient.
b. Suspensions. Ophthalmic suspensions are also easily placed into the eye.
In general, suspensions produce a longer effect than do solutions. Suspensions do
have one disadvantage; it is difficult to ensure that the suspension does not contain
particles large enough to produce eye irritation.
c. Ointments. Ophthalmic ointments (for example, certain antibiotic ointments)
are commonly used. They are relatively easy to apply (except in the eyes of children).
Ophthalmic ointments remain in contact with the eye tissues for an extended period.
Hence, they usually produce a therapeutic effect of long duration. One major
disadvantage of ointments is that they leave a film over the patient's eye. Thus, the
patient's vision can be impaired.
CHARACTERISTICS OF OPHTHALMIC PREPARATIONS
a. Solutions. Ophthalmic solutions must be sterile and particle-free. Moreover,
ophthalmic solutions should be isotonic, if possible.
b. Suspensions. Ophthalmic suspensions must be sterile and free from large
particles that might irritate the eye.