Eye Drop Cap Color Chart – Decoding Bottle Lid Color Secrets

All about Eye Drop Cap Color Chart » Bottle lid color 

Utility Cap Color Chart Common Cap Colors

Eye Drop Cap Color

The prescription eye drop cap colors vary on the basis of their therapeutic class. Are you not surprised to know this secret about eye drop bottle lid colors? Today, we will be decoding the secret and you will know everything about the ophthalmic eye drop cap color chart.

Eye drop cap colors are not the manufacturer’s design choice. The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) endorses a policy to maintain a uniform color-code topical ocular medication bottle caps.

This policy on uniform eye drop cap colors, first published in 1983, came about from reports to the AAO and to the National Registry of Drug-Induced Ocular Side Effects. There were serious adverse events occurring because patients had a difficult time telling their eye drops apart. So, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in coordination with the AAO’s Committee developed a uniform color-coding system.

According to the AAO, the specific Pantone colors were assigned to defined classes of eye drops according to the nature of the disease being treated, the product’s side-effect profile, and the risk of serious sequelae if an eye drop is inadvertently switched with another.


The Utility of Uniform Eye Drop Cap Color Chart

Everybody is aware of the adverse side effects the incorrect ocular medications can have on the ocular system and overall body functioning. So, the uniform color-coding system for topical eye drops helps patients to distinguish among various medications. This drastically minimizes the risk of selecting the wrong eye medication by the patient.

The highest population to mix up eye drops are those with vision problems. So, the eye drop cap color chart serves as a safeguard against human error. Memorize these color schemes as a safety guard against your instilling the wrong eyedrop in your eyes.

If you go to the eye clinic or medical store and suddenly forget the name of the eye drop you were using, then remembering the eye drop cap color helps clinicians and pharmacists to make an idea about the particular eye medication you were using.

Stay together till the end as we are going to present to you the very simplified and pictorial representations of commonly prescribed eye drop cap color chart. So, the next time you visit the eye clinic you can tell about your medication to your eye doctor using the phrases “the eye drops with red cap”, “eye drop with yellow cap”, or “prescription eye drops with pink cap” if you have already lost the bottle or prescription sheet.

Eye Drop Cap Color Chart


Prescription eye drop cap colors and common uses

Eye drops with red cap – Mydriatics and Cycloplegics

Phenylephrine, tropicamide, atropine, cyclopentolate, cyclomydril



  • Pupil dilation during a routine eye exam
  • Reduce pain in ocular inflammation
  • Diagnostic test for Horner’s syndrome, Phenylephrine test (conjunctivitis, scleritis or episcleritis)

Mode of Action (MOA)

» Either a disruption of the parasympathetic nerve supply to the iris constrictor muscle (which normally constricts the pupil) or overactivity of the sympathetic nervous system to the iris dilator muscle.

Prescription eye drops with pink cap – Steroids (Anti-Inflammatory)

Alrex/Lotemax (loteprednol etabonate, Durezol (difluprednate), FML (fluoromethalone), Pred Forte/Pred Mild (prednisolone acetate), Vexol (rimexolone)

(Note: Some steroid eye drops have white cap color)



To treat seasonal allergic conjunctivitis, ocular inflammation such as uveitis.

Eye drops with orange cap color – Carbonic Anhydrase Inhibitors

Dorzolamide (Trusopt), brinzolamide (Azopt)



Glaucoma treatment

Mode of Action (MOA)

» Lowers intraocular pressure by decreasing production of aqueous humor in the eye.

Eye drops with yellow cap or Light blue cap color – Beta Blockers

  • A light blue cap (0.25%) – has a lower concentration of the drug
  • A yellow cap (0.50%) – has a higher concentration of the drug

Timolol (Timoptic), levobunolol (Betagan), Betaxolol (Betoptic) – light blue top



Glaucoma treatment

Mode of Action (MOA)

» Inhibit beta 1 and beta 2 adrenergic receptors located on the ciliary epithelium, thus preventing synthesis of cyclic adenosine monophosphate (c-AMP), which lowers the intraocular pressure by decreasing production of aqueous humor in the eye.

Eye drops with light green cap color – Adrenergic agonist combinations

Simbrinza (brinzolamide-brimonidine)



Glaucoma treatment

Eye drop with dark Green cap color – Miotics




Constriction of pupil

Glaucoma treatment

 Mode of Action (MOA)

» Cholinergic agonists (parasympathomimetics) acts by stimulating the muscarinic receptors located on the pupillary sphincter muscle and ciliary body to contract. This contraction pulls the peripheral iris away from the trabeculum (in angle-closure) and lower intraocular pressure by increasing aqueous outflow through the trabecular meshwork.

Eye drops with Turquoise cap color – Prostaglandin Analogues

Lumigan (bimatoprost), Travatan Z (travoprost), Xalatan (latanoprost)



Glaucoma treatment

Mode of Action (MOA)

» Lowers intraocular pressure by increasing uveoscleral outflow of aqueous humor.

Eye drop with dark blue cap color – Beta Blocker Combinations

Combigan (brimonidine-timolol), Cosopt (dorzolamide-timolol)



Glaucoma treatment

Eye drops with Purple cap color – Adrenergic Agonists

Alphagan P (brimonidine), Lumify (brimonidine)



Glaucoma treatment

Mode of Action

» lowers intraocular pressure by decreasing production of aqueous humor in the eye,

» increasing uveoscleral outflow of aqueous humor from the eye.

Eye drops with Gray cap – Anti-inflammatory, non-steroidal 

Acular (ketorolac), Bromsite (bromfenac), Voltaren (diclofenac)



Pain relief

Treatment of ocular inflammation

Eye drops with Tan cap color – Antibiotics

Ciloxan (ciprofloxacin), Moxeza/Vigamox (moxifloxacin), Ocuflox (ofloxacin)



Treatment of bacterial infections (such as conjunctivitis and corneal ulcers)

Eye drops with white cap color – Miscellaneous (Often don’t follow the official color guide)

Anesthetics, over-the-counter products, such as artificial tears, anti-allergy eye drops, etc.

Example: Proparacaine, Zaditor (ketotifen fumarate), Systane Tears, etc.


If you are an eye care practitioner, ask the patient about the eye drop cap color if they forget to tell you the name of the eyedrop they are using. The patient will find it easier to recall the eye color immediately. This is one of the best approaches to verify a patient’s compliance with treatment.

Exception in eye drop cap color does exist. AAO suggests considering alternative identification technologies, which further reduce the likelihood of drug errors.

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