Erythromycin Ophthalmic Ointment Uses and Risks

Erythromycin is comparable to penicillin.  It is a powerful antibiotic that treats various bacterial infections.  

Erythromycin Ophthalmic OintmentErythromycin Ophthalmic Ointment

Over the years, Erythromycin Ophthalmic ointment has been the go-to treatment for bacterial infections of the eyes.  Potent and readily available in drugstores, it is expected to provide relief of certain eye infection symptoms.  Read on for more information about this ointment including its uses, how to use it, proper dosage, as well as its risks.


Erythromycin Ophthalmic Ointment

What exactly is Erythromycin Ophthalmic Ointment?  This ointment is considered antibiotics coming from the strain of Streptomyces erythraeus.  Also known as Ilotycin, it is basically used for eye infections caused by bacteria.  An example of this is conjunctivitis.  Belonging to the drug class called macrolide antibiotics, what it does is it neutralizes the bacteria that cause the infection providing immediate relief and consequent subsidization of eye infection symptoms.  It is widely distributed among drug stores so you can get a hold of it without any problem at all.  Since it is considered antibiotics, you will need a doctor’s prescription to be able to buy this ointment.  It is safe to use even for newborn babies but make sure you know the right dosage and that you have consulted your doctor about it before you proceed to use it.


What It Contains

This ointment is essentially made of erythromycin.  Erythromycin is comparable to penicillin.  It is a powerful antibiotic that treats various bacterial infections.  This includes skin infections, respiratory tract infections, and certain sexually transmitted infection.  For Erythromycin Ophthalmic Ointment, it has been specifically designed for the eye so it is potent to serve that particular purpose.


How to Use It

Using this ointment is pretty straightforward so you do not have to strain yourself too much to get it right.  Here are things to take note of when you use Erythromycin Ophthalmic Ointment:

  • You must wash your hands thoroughly before and after you apply this ointment.  This way, you can make sure that your hands are clean and bacteria-free when you apply it on your eye and that you do not get to transmit the bacteria present in your eye.  Conjunctivitis, for example, is communicable.  Reduce the risk of transmission through frequent hand washing especially if your hands have come in contact with your eyes.
  • Do not let the tip of the tube touch the infected eye.  Place it nearest the eyelid but make sure there is no contact. If it does, disinfect the tip of the tube with water, soap, and alcohol.  This way, you know that bacteria will not be transmitted elsewhere and you do not injure your eye.
  • One way to ease application is to tilt your head gradually then with your index finger, you pull down the lower lid of your eye.  When you are able to form a certain space (often called a pocket), that is where you will squeeze the ointment.  Promptly release your lower eyelid, blink gently, and close your eyes for no more than two minutes.  That would have done the job.
  • If there is excess ointment or any fluid coming out of the eye after application, gently wipe it off with tissue.  Do not put the tissue on any surface so no contamination will happen.  Dispose tissue immediately.
  • You might need to apply it multiple times a day depending on the severity of your infection.  Consult your doctor to make sure you apply it according to the number of times that is necessary.
  • It not advisable to use contact lenses when you use this medication.  If you have concerns about this, make sure your doctor knows so you can determine how to go about it.


Side Effects

While rare, some do have reported side effects attributed to the use of Erythromycin Ophthalmic Ointment.  Among these side effects are:

  • Stinging or burning sensation of the eye
  • Itching after application
  • Redness
  • Temporary vision blurring

If you notice any of these symptoms or any other unusual reaction after applying this ointment, it would be best to immediately discontinue use and consult your doctor.  Do not self-medicate.  Eye infections can be exacerbated by allergic reactions to this drug.  See your doctor immediately at the onset of any adverse reaction.



As mentioned earlier, the dosage will depend on the case.  You can use it as much as six times a day.  To know the accurate number of times of application and for how long, see your doctor.  Remember, a prolonged application can cause dangerous eye problems.  To prevent this situation, make sure you have proper consultation and strictly follow doctor’s orders especially if the case affects a child.


Risks and Precautions

Some final notes that will be helpful to you when you use Erythromycin Ophthalmic Ointment:

  • This drug is not effective in treating viral infections.  This is why you should consult your doctor.  Pinpointing the cause of the infection will determine the appropriate medical intervention that should be done.
  • If you have had allergic reactions to erythromycin before, it may continue when you use this ointment.  Inform your doctor about this fact.
  • Gain clearance from your doctor to use this ointment if you are pregnant or lactating.
  • To prevent further contamination, do not share tubes with anyone.  If more than one family member has a bacterial eye infection, each one must have his/her own tube.
  • Do not drive or do any type of work that needs accurate vision after you have applied the ointment.  This causes temporary blurred vision so let it settle first before you proceed with your normal tasks.
  • Frequent washing of hands cannot be emphasized enough.  Wash hands before applying the ointment and after application.  Then, wash hands after storing.  This way, you can prevent bacteria from being transmitted from one person to another.

If you or a loved one have bacterial eye infections, then Erythromycin Ophthalmic ointment is for you.  However, it is important to lock down that doctor’s prescription before proceeding to use this drug.  By knowing the cause of your eye infection, you can be assured that this ointment is the right medical intervention for you.

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