A Single Drop in the Eye – Effects on the Whole Body?

Anu Vaajanen1, 2, *, Heikki Vapaatalo3
1 Department of Ophthalmology, Tampere University Hospital, P.O. Box 2000, 33521 Tampere, Finland
2 SILK, Department of Ophthalmology, School of Medicine, University of Tampere, 33014, Tampere, Finland
3 Medical Faculty, Pharmacology, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 63, 00014, Helsinki, Finland

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© 2017 Vaajanen and Vapaatalo.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Ophthalmology, Tampere University Hospital, P.O. Box 2000, 33521 Tampere, Finland; Tel: +358-331164852; Fax: +358-331164365;



Although the local adverse effects of ophthalmic drugs, including allergic reactions, are well recognized, less is known about the systemic side- effects of eye drops, especially during pregnancy, breast-feeding and early childhood. Ophthalmologists should also be aware of unusual, in some cases even life-threatening, effects of commonly used eye drops.


This brief review outlines the routes of systemic absorption and the kinetics of active components present in eye drops, and identifies the clinically relevant systemic adverse effects.

Keywords: Single drop , Ophthalmic drugs , Eye , Body , Kinetics , Ocular drugs .