Eye ointments

An ointment-based drug preparation that is manufactured for topical application to the eye is called an eye ointment.
Anhydrous substances such as vaseline or paraffin are often used as the basis for the ointments and, depending on the indication, the active ingredients such as corticosteroids (cortisone), antibiotics or vitamins are added.

Due to the possibility of processing various active ingredients in them, eye ointments are a therapeutic option for many diseases in ophthalmology. However, there are now many drugs also in the form of eye drops. The difference is mainly in the processing. Ointments are fat-based, while drops are water-based. As a result, ointments dissolve more poorly and remain in the eye longer, which may support the therapy.

Advantage over eye drops

In contrast to eye drops, eye ointments are significantly more viscous (tougher) and therefore do not flow out of the eye as quickly as eye drops. Due to this property, they remain in the eye for a longer period of time and can therefore work better than eye drops or even than eye gels, which are already somewhat thicker than eye drops in terms of consistency.

Especially at night, the application of eye ointments is much more useful and effective than the use of eye drops or gels, and the ointment can be used for a sufficiently long time to act overnight.

Disadvantage compared to eye drops

Probably the biggest disadvantage is that See is impaired after applying eye ointments. You can then see as if through streaks, since the viscous ointment is between the eye and the outside world "pushes“And obscures the view by its consistency.

It is precisely for this reason that it is advised to use the ointments only immediately before going to bed, which makes the disadvantage of impaired vision insignificant.

Indication for eye ointments

  • allergic reaction
  • bacterial inflammation of the eye
  • Injuries to the eye
  • dry eyes (so-called keratoconjunctivitis sicca)


When should eye ointments not be used?

In general, eye ointments are not allowed unconscious patient or after Accidents used as they could interfere with a neurological assessment or possible surgical intervention by the ophthalmologist.
In the event of an injury to the eyeball itself (e.g. Pierce) eye ointments should also be avoided. A glaucoma (glaucoma; Increased intraocular pressure) is also often a contraindication to many medical eye ointments.


In order to use the eye ointment correctly, it is inserted into the conjunctival sac as a 0.5 cm long strip of ointment with the lower eyelids pulled down slightly with the finger.

It is important to ensure that the tip of the ointment tube does not touch the patient's eyelashes or the conjunctival sac, so that contamination of the remaining contents of the ointment tube can be avoided. After the application, the eyes should be closed; any excess eye ointment that then escapes from the eyes can then be carefully wiped off with a lint-free cloth or compress.

The ointment is best applied while lying on your back or with your head tilted back. The lower eyelid is gently pulled down with one hand, creating a kind of pocket or fold.
The other hand, which is holding the tube of ointment, is best supported on the patient's forehead and can now drop about 0.5 cm of ointment into the crease of the lower eyelid.

It is important here that the tube itself does not touch the eye or the eyelashes, so that neither the eyeball is injured nor germs can be transferred from the eye to the tube. It is easiest to have this from another person (Doctor, parent in children etc.). After the application, the patient's vision can be blurred due to the so-called ointment film. As a result, your ability to drive is impaired and you should avoid driving any kind of machine.

Eye ointment for common diseases of the eye

Eye ointments for conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis (Conjunctivitis) is the most common inflammation of the eye. The most common reason is dehydration due to lack of tear fluid (so-called. Conjunctivitis sicca). It is best treated with so-called tear substitutes. However, these are more often found in the form of drops than as ointments.
Cortisone supplements are not indicated as they worsen the dryness of the eye and make it prone to infections (see below). Another cause of conjunctivitis is an allergy, such as Hay fever. Here too, however, eye drops (Active ingredient chromoglycic acid) treated as with ointments.

Infectious conjunctivitis can also be caused by bacteria. Here antibiotic ointments are used (see above).

Viral (also infectious) Conjunctivitis can e.g. caused by primary infection by the herpes simplex virus in children. Well is effective here Acyclovir in ointment form, which should also be given systemically in tablet form. If the virus reactivates, the cornea is more likely to be affected (Keratitis), acyclovir ointment is also helpful here.

Read more on the topic: Zovirax® eye ointment

Eye ointment for a stye

The so-called barley grain (technical term: Hordeolum) is an inflammation of the eyelid, more precisely the eyelid margin glands. The infection is usually caused by staphylococci, less often by streptococci. The abscess that forms is accompanied by a build-up of pus and swelling, redness, and pain in the affected eyelid. As long as the abscess is locally limited, the stye can also heal spontaneously and without therapy. Alternatively, the healing process can also be initiated by dry heat, e.g. by irradiating with an infrared lamp. It is better to refrain from moist and warm compresses, as the moisture promotes the spread of the infection and is not conducive to healing.

Hygiene is essential in order not to spread the bacteria from the stye. Accordingly, one should not try to squeeze the stye to remove the pus or touch it with one's hands often. The stye can be treated well with a combination of antibiotic eye drops and ointments to prevent it from spreading to other eyelid glands. The drops are used during the day and the ointment at night. Gentamicin or erythromycin, for example, are suitable as active ingredients.

Read more on the topic:

  • Treatment of stye
  • Eye ointment for a stye

Eye ointment for dry eyes

Vitamin A eye ointment is particularly suitable for dry eyes. Often the cause is a disorder of the tear film, which can be remedied by the eye ointment. Vitamin A is a natural component of the tear film and so the use of eye ointment containing vitamin A can lead to an improvement in symptoms.

The active ingredient heparin also has a positive effect on the symptom relief of dry eyes. Due to their comparable physiological properties, heparin and the natural mucous layer of tears are similar. When using eye ointments containing heparin, the symptoms improve and the cornea, conjunctiva and eyelids are moistened.

Many eye drops also help with dry eyes. Read more about this: Eye drops for dry eyes

Eye ointments for corneal damage

  • If the cornea shows signs of drying out, ointments are used which have a positive effect on the tear film and moisturize the eye. The active ingredients vitamin A and heparin are particularly important here and should be part of the eye ointment.
  • The over-the-counter Bepanthen eye and nasal ointment can also help with injuries to the cornea.
  • To accelerate the regeneration of the cornea, ointments with the active ingredient dexpanthenol also help. However, these only support the healing of skin lesions of the cornea or help in the symptomatic treatment of symptoms of drying out of the cornea.
  • If the cornea is infected with bacteria, however, the antibiotic ofloxacin, which is prescribed for corneal inflammation or corneal ulcers, can help.
  • If it is a viral infection of the cornea, Zovirax eye ointment can be used. In the case of allergic reactions of the cornea, ointments containing cortisone can provide symptom relief (e.g. Ficortril).

Eye ointment for eyelid inflammation

Inflammation of the eyelid or blepharitis is a disease in which the flow of sebum from the sebum glands of the eyes is disturbed. This is triggered by:

  • Barley grains
  • Rosacea
  • allergy
  • Dry skin

For blepharitis, eye ointments containing cortisone are often prescribed, which have anti-inflammatory effects. If it is a bacterial eyelid inflammation, antibiotic ointments can also be used. With an inflammation of the eyelid margin that is not caused by pathogens Posiformin® 2% eye ointment, which can be bought without a prescription in the pharmacy.

Eye ointment for the night

Almost all eye ointments are particularly suitable for overnight use, as they can spread over the entire surface of the eye when the eyes are closed. Also, after applying eye ointments, eyesight is often impaired, which is why the ointments can / should be used well at night. Eye ointments that work overnight can help, especially if the eyes are dry. Patients often suffer from dry, burning eyes, especially overnight. Intensive moistening is possible with special ointments for the night. Examples for this are:

  • Artelac Nighttime Gel
  • Xailin Night eye ointment
  • VitA-POS eye ointment

Antibiotic in the eye ointment

Due to the bactericidal properties, antibiotic eye ointments kill the pathogens. Antibiotic eye ointments are used when the infection of the eye and a bacterial infection are involved. A medical diagnosis that justifies the antibiosis should definitely be made beforehand.

The use of an ointment containing antibiotics only makes sense if there is superficial inflammation of the conjunctiva or the cornea. Otherwise, it is necessary to resort to therapy with tablets. The typical active ingredients in antibiotic eye ointments include

  • Gentamicin
  • Ciprofloxacin
  • Ofloxacin
  • Tetracycline (Inflammation of the eyes due to chlamydial infection)

Read more about the effects of antibiotics at: Antibiotics

Cortisone in eye ointments

Cortisone is an active ingredient from the group of glucocorticoids and has anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic effects, but it also suppresses the immune system. Hydrocortisone (chemically dissolved as hydrocortisone acetate), which comes from the group of lighter glucocorticoids. Due to its immunosuppressive effect, it should never be used for infectious eye diseases (bacteria, viruses, fungi, etc.), as it locally weakens the body's own defenses and can thus worsen the disease. However, there are combination preparations for bacterial infections made from antibiotics and cortisone, in which the anti-inflammatory effect is in the foreground.

In general, cortisone can be used for non-infectious inflammations of the eye of all kinds. Cortisone ointment is also used for severe hay fever, also in combination with eye drops containing chromoglycic acid, in order to alleviate the symptoms and bring the inflammation under control. However, cortisone should never be used for too long as it can show side effects after just a few weeks, such as increased intraocular pressure, dry eyes or secondary infections of the eye.

Read more on the topic: Eye ointment with cortisone

Eye ointments without wool wax

Wool wax is a substance that comes from the wool of the sheep. Another name for wool wax is lanolin. It's a popular ingredient in many skin care products and is also found in many eye ointments.

The problem is that many people suffer from a wool wax allergy and so do so when using eye ointments with wool wax components Redness, itching or Burn the eyes can come. In the event of an allergy, those affected should consult their ophthalmologist or pharmacist and use ointments without wool wax.

One example of this is the panthenol eye ointment with the active ingredient dexpanthenol.

Eye ointment without preservatives

The main difference between eye ointments and eye drops is the viscosity. As a result, the ointments stay on the surface of the eye much longer than the liquid drops. This makes it even more important to ensure that the drug does not contain any harmful ingredients when using eye ointments.

Preservatives are to be used with particular care. They can negatively affect the surface of the eye by changing the tear film, which can lead to discomfort in the eye area. Instead of relieving symptoms, the use of ointments with preservatives can damage the cornea and conjunctiva.

So it is important to be careful to use preservative-free eye ointments. examples for this are Posiformin 2% eye ointment or VitA-POS eye ointment, that are free from these ingredients.

Eye ointment with heparin

Eye ointments with heparin relieve symptoms, especially in dry eyes, and can have a positive effect on the tear film.

  • Heparin as a component helps to moisturize the cornea and conjunctiva and accelerates the regeneration of the surface of the eye.

An example of an eye ointment containing heparin is PARIN POSwhich has heparin sodium as its main ingredient. By using it, the surface of the eye is kept moist and the cells regenerate.

Eye ointments for the night

Almost all eye ointments are particularly suitable for overnight use, as they can spread over the entire surface of the eye when the eyes are closed. Also, after applying eye ointments, eyesight is often impaired, which is why the ointments can / should be used well at night.

Eye ointments that work overnight can help, especially if the eyes are dry. Patients often suffer from dry, burning eyes, especially overnight. Intensive moistening is possible with special ointments for the night. Examples for this are:

  • Artelac Nighttime Gel
  • Xailin Night eye ointment
  • VitA-POS eye ointment

Examples of eye ointments

Vitamin A eye ointment

Eye ointments with vitamin A (retinol palmitate) are often used for complaints in the area of ​​the eyes. It is often a combination of several ingredients:

  • Vitamin A
  • thick paraffin
  • Wool wax
  • white petroleum jelly

The main indication areas for vitamin A eye ointment are dry eyes. The ingredients of the ointment improve the tear film and protect the surface of the eye. In addition, vitamin A promotes tissue regeneration.

If you suffer from dry, burning or tired eyes, the ointment is particularly suitable for alleviating these symptoms and provides intensive care for irritated eyes. Vitamin A eye ointment should best be applied before going to bed so that it can spread over the entire surface of the eye overnight and protect the natural tear film.

In addition, there may be a slight impairment of visual performance after application. If the ointment is applied during the day, you should therefore not actively drive or operate machines. Overnight application is more desirable.

Depending on the symptoms, the ointment is applied either once a day before going to bed or, in the case of more pronounced symptoms, up to three times a day.

DEXA gentamicin eye ointment

DEXA gentamicin eye ointment belongs to the prescription drugs and must therefore be prescribed by the ophthalmologist. It is an eye ointment that is used to treat inflammation or allergies to the eye.

Thanks to the combination of gentamicin and dexamethasone, it helps with bacterial infections or inflammation if the pathogen belongs to the group of gentamicin-sensitive pathogens. Examples of the areas of application are here:

  • Conjunctivitis
  • Corneal inflammation
  • Inflammation of the edges of the eyelids
  • Barley grains

DEXA Gentamicin Eye Ointment is applied two to three times a day, unless otherwise prescribed by your doctor, and should not be used for longer than 3 weeks.

Read more about the active ingredients at:

  • Dexamethasone
  • Gentamicin

Posiformin 2% eye ointment

Posiformin 2% eye ointment contains the active ingredient bibrocathol and is an over-the-counter, disinfecting eye ointment. Due to the active ingredient, it has a cleansing effect and is particularly suitable for treating barley grains.
Read also: Treatment of a stye

In addition to the disinfecting effect, the ointment has anti-secretion properties and can therefore easily loosen the adhesions on the affected eye.

  • The area of ​​application is limited to irritation of the external eye that is not caused by certain pathogens (e.g. eyelid inflammation) and to non-infected, fresh corneal wounds.
  • It can also be applied to chronic inflammation of the eyelid if these are not caused by pathogens.

The eye ointment is applied 3 to 5 times a day and should not be used while wearing contact lenses. If the symptoms do not improve or if the irritation is chronic, an ophthalmologist should always be consulted.

Read more on the subject at: Posiformin® 2% eye ointment


Floxal is an antibiotic with the active ingredient ofloxacin, which is used to treat infections of the eye caused by pathogens sensitive to ofloxacin. It is a gyrase inhibitor with a bactericidal effect. Typical areas of application are:

  • chronic conjunctivitis
  • Corneal inflammation
  • Corneal ulcers
  • Chlamydial infections

Like most antibiotics, Floxal requires a prescription and is not available over the counter in pharmacies.

Unless otherwise prescribed, the ointment is applied 3 times a day (5 times a day for chlamydial infections) and is particularly suitable for use before going to bed, as it can spread evenly over the eye when the eyes are closed.

with dexpanthenol

Eye ointments with the active ingredient dexpanthenol are particularly suitable for diseases of the connective or cornea. This eye ointment is particularly indicated for symptoms of dehydration, as it has a positive effect on the tear film and the injured cornea or conjunctiva heals faster.

Dexpanthenol eye ointments are not suitable for infectious connective or corneal processes caused by bacteria or viruses. Nor do they help with yeast infections.


Zovirax is a prescription eye ointment with the active ingredient acyclovir. It is used in viral infections of the eye and combats them by the active ingredient damaging the genetic makeup of the virus.

Corneal inflammation in particular can develop from herpes viruses. This is most often the herpes simplex virus, which is often associated with cold sores.

  • The Zovirax eye ointment is used for the local treatment of superficial herpes infections of the cornea and, unless otherwise prescribed by a doctor, should be introduced into the conjunctival sac up to 5 times a day.

Read the article on this: Zovirax eye ointment


Ficortril is an ointment with the active ingredient hydrocortisone that is only available with a prescription.

  • The areas of application are limited to allergic changes to the eyelid or conjunctiva and non-infectious inflammation of the conjunctiva, cornea and dermis.
  • Ficortril can also be used for non-bacterial inflammation of the iris, the ciliary body and the vascular and retina.
  • If it is a viral, bacterial or fungal infection, other preparations should be used.

The active ingredient is a so-called glucocorticoid, whereby hydrocortisone is an adrenal cortex hormone, which can also be produced synthetically. Hydrocortisone works:

  • anti-inflammatory,
  • antiallergic,
  • vasoconstricting and
  • antipruritic.

The ointment should be applied 1 to 2 times a day and should not exceed 2 weeks of treatment. With prolonged use (from 10 days), the intraocular pressure and the cornea should also be monitored regularly.

Read also: Eye ointment with cortisone


At Euphrasia it is a naturally effective eye ointment that is used for barley grains or conjunctivitis. It is available without a prescription and is applied into the conjunctival sac several times a day.

It is important that the ointment is not used for more than 2 weeks at a time and that symptoms should be relieved after about 2 days. If this is not the case, a doctor should be consulted.

Also read:

  • Euphrasia eye drops
  • Homeopathy for stye

How do you use an eye ointment correctly?

When using eye ointments, attention should be paid to the correct application. The instruction leaflet for the ointment used should always be read carefully. You should pay close attention to the maximum daily dose and not apply too much ointment at once.

“Preparation” is also important.
Before application, hands and forearms should be thoroughly cleaned and, if necessary, disinfected in order to avoid further infections.

  • Some eye ointments are only suitable for use in the eye, while others can also be used for topical application near the eyes.

You should also pay close attention to the package insert and, if necessary, consult your doctor.

  • It is also important that many ointments can impair your eyesight and that you are not allowed to actively participate in road traffic after application.

This is why it is often recommended to use it before going to bed.

Which ones require a prescription, which ones are available without a prescription?

There are different ointments for diseases of the eye, which, depending on the ingredients, are either over the counter or only available on prescription. If the eye ointment contains an antibiotic, it must always be prescribed by a doctor. Examples of over-the-counter eye ointments, however, are:

  • Bepanthen eye and nose ointment
  • Posiformin 2%
  • Parin POS eye ointment
  • Euphrasia
  • Panthenol eye ointment

In addition to antibiotic ointments, Zovirax with the active ingredient acyclovir requires a prescription. This is an antiviral agent.

also read: Eye ointment containing antibiotics