Periocular steroid ointment is used for patients with skin issues around the eyes, such as atopic dermatitis or eczema. However, while these medications can address the dermatological issue, they may put some eyes at greater risk, according to a new study published in Ophthalmic Plastic Reconstructive Surgery. The New York-based research team found that periocular steroid treatment causes a statistically significant rise in intraocular pressures (IOP) for patients who have an elevated IOP to begin with.1

The team looked into the records of 31 patients, 21 of whom were treated bilaterally and 10 unilaterally. They found that eyes with a baseline IOP greater than or equal to 14mm Hg experienced significant pressure increases over the course of a year after only a mean treatment period of 14.2 weeks with topical steroids.

Although “this change is not always correlated with a clinically significant rise in IOP, clinicians should monitor more closely patients at greatest risk of steroid response,” the report concludes.

Safer options include non-steroidal preparations, such as topical pimecrolimus or tacrolimus, which can be used without limitations.2

1. Maeng, M, De Moraes C, Winn B, Dagi L. Effect of topical periocular steroid use on intraocular pressure: a retrospective analysis. Ophthalmic Plast Reconstr Surg. February 4, 2019 [ePub ahead of print]

2. Khan M, Weinberg J. Safe periocular steroid use for eyelid dermatitis. Clinical Advisor. November 12, 2011. Accessed February 26, 2018.