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The Role of Antibiotics in Treating Eye Care: When They're Necessary


The eyes are a crucial human body part and need proper care. There are many treatments available for Ocular infections. Some eye infections can be treated with antibiotics, while others, like Trachoma, have been checked by community health measures. Eye infections are transmissible and can be prevented and minimized with antibiotic eye drops. Ocular infections may cause redness, itchiness, and watery discharge. Antibiotic eye drops prevent the bacteria from using amino acids and compounds essential for their growth.

Antibiotic eye drops appear similar to artificial tears but contain medications to treat diseases. Antibiotic eye drops are helpful against infections caused by bacteria and are ineffective against viral or fungal eye infections. After determining the root cause of the illness, the doctor would prescribe antibiotics that would be best suited for the treatment. There are numerous pharmacies where one can buy eye drops for dry eyes and other ocular infections.


The Role of Antibiotics in Treating Eye Care: When They're Necessary


How do Antibiotic Eye Drops Work?

  • It works by eliminating the pathogenic bacteria that cause eye infections or by controlling their growth and multiplication.

  • Antibiotics help minimize the spread of infection, shorten its duration, and reduce further complications.

  • Doctors prescribe antibiotic eye drops to treat eye infections caused by bacteria, depending upon the severity of the disease.

  • These antibiotic eye drops work for infections caused by bacteria and would be ineffective against infections caused by viruses and allergic conjunctivitis.

Different Types of Bacterial Eye Infection

Bacterial Conjunctivitis

  • It is also referred to as Pink eye. It is an inflammation or infection of the conjunctiva (outer white membrane of the eyeball) and inner eyelid.

  • Bacteria, viruses, and allergies cause it and can simultaneously affect one or both eyes.

  • It is highly contagious and spreads by contact with the eye discharge of the infected person, handshakes, and hugs.

  • Symptoms include redness, pain, burning sensation, and eye discharge.

  • These symptoms will diminish in a week; however, antibiotic eye drops can speed up recovery.

  • Bacterial conjunctivitis is more common in children than adults.

Bacterial Keratitis

  • It is a sight-threatening bacterial infection that affects the cornea of the eyes.

  • Bacterial keratitis is caused by mainly two types of bacteria, namely Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

  • Bacterial keratitis also occurs when wearing contact lenses overnight and when the contact lenses are not cleaned or disinfected.

  • Temporary reshaping of the cornea may also lead to Bacterial keratitis.

  • Its symptoms include pain, redness of the eyes, sensitivity to light, blurred vision, and discharge from the eyes.

  • It is a severe infection and requires immediate medical attention. If you notice the symptoms, contact your ophthalmologist.

  • If left untreated, the infection could spread to nearby tissue and cause tissue destruction. It may also cause loss of vision or blindness.

  • The primary treatment involves using antibiotic eye drops. Let your doctor know before you use any generic eye care drops. The doctor will prescribe the most suitable drops based on the severity of the infection.

  • In addition to the antibiotic eye drops, the doctor could also prescribe oral antibiotics as a supplement to speed up the healing process.


  • It is an eye infection caused by Chlamydia trachomatis, also known as Chlamydia.

  • Trachoma is an infectious disease and one of the significant factors causing blindness and vision loss globally.

  • It is contagious and spreads from contact with an infected person’s eye discharge.

  • The infection generally occurs in both eyes at a time.

  • Its symptoms include eye irritation, itching, redness, pain, blurred vision, and eye discharge.

  • Trachoma can be treated with antibiotic eye drops at an early stage. Surgery is required in the later stages (the blinding stage).

  • Public awareness, access to clean water, and hygiene and sanitation can help control this infection.

When To Take Antibiotic Eye Drops

Antibiotic eye drops are widespread to prevent ocular infection. Depending upon the cause and magnitude of the disease, the doctor would prescribe an antibiotic eye drop. These eye drops should be taken as and when recommended by your ophthalmologist. Do not leave the treatment incomplete when witnessing progress. It is in your best interest that you complete the process. However, with prolonged use of antibiotics, the bacteria in the infected eyes resist the drug and continue to cause discomfort. Often, doctors advise letting mild infections heal on their own and refraining from the excessive use of antibiotics. Some of the most common antibiotic eye drops used to treat bacterial eye infections are Ciprofloxacin, Tobramycin, Ofloxacin, Azithromycin, etc.

Side effects of Using Antibiotic Eye drops

  • Itching of the eyes

  • Redness of the eyes

  • Pain and burning sensation

  • Blur vision

  • Sensitivity to light

  • Short-sightedness

  • Corneal Ulcers

Using ophthalmic eye drops could have other side effects besides the listed ones. You should contact your doctor if you experience allergic reactions, hives, breathing issues, or rashes after using antibiotic eye drops.

Preventive Measures to Avoid Eye Infection

  • Refrain from using contact lenses while on treatment with antibiotic eye drops. Follow necessary preventive measures if you use contact lenses.

  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water.

  • Avoid coming in contact with a person suffering from an eye infection.

  • Refrain from touching your eyes regularly.

  • Do not share your eye makeup kit with others.


Ophthalmologists prescribe antibiotic eye drops to treat various kinds of eye infections. Numerous antibiotic eye drops are available, and each functions differently. Some eye drops available over the counter might bring temporary relief but wouldn’t eliminate the infection. To treat a bacterial eye infection, one needs prescribed antibacterial eye drops. There are eye drops that come in multiple combinations to treat specific conditions. Some bacterial eye infections heal without the use of antibiotics. It would be best to inform your doctor before you start taking any of these eye drops. However, if you don’t see any improvement or the symptoms persist for a week, visit your doctor, or the condition might worsen. Your doctor will decide which eye drop would heal your condition. Seek advice from your doctor if you experience any of the symptoms mentioned earlier, as ignoring these might lead to vision issues.

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