Difference Between Ear Drops and Eye Drops

Infections in the body cavities like the ear, nose, and throat are very common and can occur due to various reasons such as bacteria, fungus, etc.


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Many medicines are available in the market for the treatment of these kinds of infections. The most common method used is the application of ear drops and eye drops.

Ear Drops vs Eye Drops 

The difference between ear drops and eye drops is that ear drops in used in case of ear infections, while eye drops are used to treat eye infections and diseases. Ear drops can be applied to the outer ear or can be instilled in the middle ear but not in the inner ear. The eye drop is instilled in the eye pocket, which is created just under the eyelid.

Ear Drops vs Eye Drops

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Ear drops are a solution that is used in the treatment of ear infections or hearing problems. It is also used in cases to remove ear wax or in the cleaning of the ear.

Eye drops are aqueous solutions containing saline (0.9% of Sodium Chloride solution). The hypertonic nature of saline helps to reduce the swelling of the eye, which can be caused due to infection, trauma, or surgery.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonEar DropsEye Drops
MeaningEar drops are liquid dosage forms meant for topical application on the outer or middle ear.Eye drops are liquid dosage forms meant to instill in the eye.
Side effectsFewer side effects.Side effects can be seen due to the presence of blood vessels in the eye.
SterilitySterility is not necessary.Eye drops need to be sterilized.
StorageStored at room temperature until mentioned in the package.Need special storage requirements.
RiskLess risk is involved.The person should consult the doctor before usage.
OsmosityIsn’t required.Need to maintain osmosity with the environment of the eye.

What is Ear Drops?

Ear drops are liquid dosage forms meant for topical application on the ear. Ear drops are specifically meant for external use only. It is directly applied to the area of infection.

Ear drops have very few side effects. One of the major reasons behind this can be the topical administration of ear drops. Since it does not reach the systemic circulation, the side effects are also less.

Some of the common ear problems treated by ear drops are otitis, ear pain, myringitis, and hearing problems. Oral medications are also advised by doctors in specific cases.

ear drops

What is Eye Drops?

Eye drops are solutions having 0.9% of Sodium Chloride, which is directly administered in the eye or ocular region.

They are used to treat many types of infections, including redness of the eye, swelling of the eye, blurring of vision, dryness of the eye, and other eye infections.

Eye drops have fewer side effects when compared to medicines taken by the oral route. In order to minimize the interactions, a lacrimal punctum is occluded.

Eye drops are basically aqueous solutions. So preservatives are added to the formulation to inhibit the growth of microorganisms. The bottle can get contaminated if once opened and is not stored properly.

eye drops

Main Differences Between Ear Drops and Eye Drops

  1. Eye drops are sterile in nature, while ear drops are not.
  2. Eye drops are more sensitive to the growth of microorganisms due to the difference in composition of the eye drop and an ear drop.


  1. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1742-1241.2006.01005.x
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0168365920300778
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