Corticosteroids, commonly known as steroids, are medications used to treat inflammatory (swelling) conditions affecting the eye and other parts of the body.
Corticosteroids are different from anabolic steroids, which are used sometimes by athletes and bodybuilders to enhance muscle mass. Corticosteroids are found naturally in the body and help regulate blood sugar, salt and water levels, metabolism and growth. They also help to control allergic reactions.
In higher doses, corticosteroids reduce swelling, pain and redness caused by many injuries and diseases affecting the body, including the eye. The most commonly used corticosteroid for eye disease is called prednisone.
Steroid tablets are commonly used to treat uveitis, a common inflammatory condition affecting the eyes that generally occurs when the body’s immune response is not functioning properly. Steroid tablets are used to suppress the immune system. Other reasons for steroid tablet use include Grave’s disease, or giant cell arteritis.