In eye care, a collyrium is a lotion or liquid wash used as a cleanser for the eyes, particularly in diseases of the eye.

Pre-modern medicine distinguished two kinds of collyriums: the one liquid, the other dry. Liquid collyriums were composed of ophthalmic powders, or waters, such as rose-water, plantain-water, that of fennel, eyebright, etc, in which was dissolved tutty, white vitriol, or some other proper powder.

The dry collyriums were troches of rhasis, sugar-candy, iris, tutty prepared and blown into the eye with a little pipe.

The same name was also given to unguents used for the same purpose, such as unguent of tutty. Lastly, the name was given, though improperly, to some liquid medicines used against venereal diseases.

The word collyrium comes from the Greek ''κολλύρον, eye-salve.


  • "Collyrium". Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. 2nd ed. 1989.
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