Acular (ketorolac eye drops): Basics, Side Effects & Reviews
Acular (ketorolac eye drops)

Acular (ketorolac eye drops)

Basics, Side Effects, Reviews & More

Warning Icon Are you looking for information on Toradol (ketorolac tablet or injection) or Sprix (ketorolac nasal spray) instead?

Acular (ketorolac eye drops) helps with pain and inflammation after eye surgery and also treats eye itching due to seasonal allergies, but it is usually used 4 times a day.


Acular, Acular LS, Acuvail




Not a controlled medication


Lower-cost generic available


Prescription only

Reviewed by:

Aileen Chu, PharmD, BCPS

Christina Aungst, PharmD

Last reviewed on:

December 23, 2020


What is Acular (ketorolac eye drops)?

How Acular (ketorolac eye drops) works

Acular (ketorolac eye drops) is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). It stops your body from making chemicals that cause inflammation, which helps lessen pain, swelling, and itching in the eye.

What is Acular (ketorolac eye drops) used for?

  • Pain or inflammation after cataract removal
  • Pain or inflammation after cornea surgery
  • Allergy-related itchy eyes

Acular (ketorolac eye drops) dosage forms

eye dropper icon
eye dropper

Typical dosing for Acular (ketorolac eye drops)

Pain or inflammation after cataract surgery:

  • If using the 0.45% solution: Place 1 drop in the affected eye(s) 2 times a day starting 1 day before surgery. Continue using on the day of your surgery and for 2 weeks after surgery.
  • If using the 0.5% solution: Place 1 drop in affected eye(s) 4 times a day starting 24 hours after surgery and continue for 2 weeks after.

Pain after cornea surgery (0.4% only): Place 1 drop in the affected eye(s) 4 times a day as needed for up to 4 days after surgery.

Allergy-related itchy eyes (0.5% only): Place 1 drop in the affected eye(s) 4 times a day.

Frequently asked questions about Acular (ketorolac eye drops)

Pros and cons of Acular (ketorolac eye drops)


Thumbs UpWorks well for eye pain, inflammation, and itching

Thumbs UpCauses fewer serious side effects than oral ketorolac

Thumbs UpBoth 0.4% and 0.5% strengths are available as affordable generics.


Thumbs DownCan cause temporary stinging or burning after using

Thumbs DownUsually used 4 times a day

Thumbs DownAvoid if you're allergic to NSAIDs or aspirin.

Thumbs DownRequires removal of soft contact lenses

Pharmacist tips for Acular (ketorolac eye drops)

Capsule IconWash your hands before putting Acular (ketorolac eye drops) drops in your eyes. Don't touch the dropper tip with your eye, hands, or any other surface. This will help you avoid eye infections by preventing contamination of the solution.

Capsule IconUse Acular (ketorolac eye drops) exactly as prescribed. If you are preparing for eye surgery, timing of medication eye drops is very important, so make sure you know when to start taking it. Do not take Acular (ketorolac eye drops) for more than 2 weeks following cataract surgery or more than 4 days after cornea surgery unless your provider tells you to do so.

Capsule IconIf you are pregnant, check with your provider before using Acular (ketorolac eye drops). You should avoid using Acular (ketorolac eye drops) if you are late in your pregnancy, since the medication might affect the health of your child.

Capsule IconDon't wear contacts while using Acular (ketorolac eye drops).

Capsule IconAfter placing a drop in the eye, close your eye and press one finger to the inner corner of your eye by the nose and press lightly for 1 minute. This helps make sure your eye absorbs the drop.

Capsule IconIf you are using Acular (ketorolac eye drops) at the same time as other eye medications, wait 5 minutes between each drop to give your eyes time to absorb each medication.

Prices for Acular (ketorolac eye drops) start at just $12.74 with a GoodRx coupon. They’re fast, easy-to-use and free!

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What are the side effects of Acular (ketorolac eye drops)?

With any medication, there are risks and benefits. Even if the medication is working, you may experience some unwanted side effects.

Warning Small Contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following:

  • Breathing problems due to an allergic reaction

Caution Small The following side effects may get better over time as your body gets used to the medication. Let your doctor know immediately if you continue to experience these symptoms or if they worsen over time.

Common side effects

  • Temporary stinging or burning after using (up to 40%)
  • Eye redness, swelling, or pain (up to 10%)
  • Headache (1-6%)
  • Higher eye pressure after cataract surgery (1-6%)
  • Bleeding in the outermost membrane of the eye (1-6%)
  • Blurry vision (1-6%)
  • Hazy or cloudy corneas (1-5%)

Other side effects

  • Swelling or inflammation of the cornea
  • Inflammation of the iris (the colored part of the eye)
  • Eye irritation
  • Eye infections
  • Dry eyes
  • More tearing than usual

Source: DailyMed

The following side effects have also been reported:

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

Less common or rare

Bleeding in the eye or redness or swelling of the eye or the eyelid (not present before you started using this medicine or becoming worse while you are using this medicine)

blurred vision or other change in vision

fever or chills

itching or tearing

nausea or vomiting


sensitivity to light

shortness of breath

sticky or matted eyelashes

swelling of face

throbbing pain

tightness in chest

troubled breathing


Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common

Burning, stinging, or mild discomfort after application

dry eyes

Less common or rare

Bigger or smaller pupils (black part of eye)


trouble in sleeping

runny or stuffy nose

unusual weakness

Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What are the risks and warnings for Acular (ketorolac eye drops)?

Acular (ketorolac eye drops) can cause some serious health issues. This risk may be even higher for certain groups. If this worries you, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about other options

Slower healing

  • Risk factors: Also using corticosteroid eye drops

If you have any type of eye injury, Acular (ketorolac eye drops) can slow down the healing process, especially if you are also using corticosteroid eye drops, such as prednisolone or dexamethasone. Your provider will decide whether it is appropriate for you to use this medication after eye surgery.

Breathing problems

  • Risk factors: History of allergy to aspirin, NSAIDs, or similar medications | History of asthma

Acular (ketorolac eye drops) can cause trouble breathing or an asthma flare-up, especially in people who have a history of these types of reactions from taking aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Let your provider know if you have had a history of breathing problems or allergies to these types of medications. Seek medical help immediately if you experience difficulty breathing after starting Acular (ketorolac eye drops).


  • Risk factors: History of bleeding problems | Using other medications that raise your risk of bleeding

Acular (ketorolac eye drops) can cause you to bleed easier after eye surgery. Let your provider know if you have a history of bleeding problems or if you take any medications, such as blood thinners, that can make you more likely to bleed. Call your provider if you notice blood spots on your eye, especially if you just had eye surgery.

Cornea problems

  • Risk factors: History of problems with the cornea or surface of the eye | Multiple eye surgeries | Rheumatoid arthritis | Using Acular (ketorolac eye drops) for a long time

Acular (ketorolac eye drops) can cause inflammation, weakening, or injury to the cornea, the protective membrane located in the front of the eye. Cornea problems can seriously affect your eyesight. Let your provider know if you've had a history of any type of cornea problems or multiple eye surgeries. Make sure you're getting regular eye check-ups while you're using Acular (ketorolac eye drops). Contact your provider immediately if you notice changes in your vision or more eye pain or discomfort. Use Acular (ketorolac eye drops) exactly as prescribed, and do not use it for longer after surgery than prescribed.

No contact lenses

Don't wear contacts while using Acular (ketorolac eye drops). After surgery, your provider will let you know when it's safe to wear contacts again.

Interactions between Acular (ketorolac eye drops) and other medications

Acular (ketorolac eye drops) may interact with certain medications or supplements. Always let your doctor and pharmacist know about any other medications or supplements (including prescribed and over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and dietary or herbal supplements) that you are currently taking. The list below does not include all possible drug interactions with Acular (ketorolac eye drops). Please note that only the generic name of each medication is listed below.

Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking any of these medicines, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.

Using medicines in this class with any of the following medicines is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with a medication in this class or change some of the other medicines you take.

Using medicines in this class with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

How much does Acular (ketorolac eye drops) cost?

Acular (ketorolac eye drops) is available as a generic medication and may be significantly cheaper compared to the brand version. Unless there is a specific reason you need the brand, the generic medication will be a better value. For even more savings, use a GoodRx coupon and pay just a fraction of the retail price.

Lowest GoodRx Price
Acular, Acular LS, Acuvail (brand)


Lowest GoodRx Price
ketorolac (generic)


View Prices & Coupons

Pricing based on most commonly-filled versions: 1 eye droppers (5ml) of ketorolac 0.5%

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