What you need to know about erythromycin ophthalmic ointment


Erythromycin ophthalmic ointment is an eye ointment used to treat bacterial eye infections such as bacterial conjunctivitis . This ointment is also used to prevent bacterial infections in the eyes of newborns. Erythromycin is in a class of drugs called macrolide antibiotics and works by killing bacteria that cause infections. It is not used to treat eye infections caused by viruses or fungi. There are several brand names of this drug, including ophthalmic illoticin and ophthalmic romicin, but there are also generics.

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Erythromycin ophthalmic ointment is used for bacterial eye infections in adults and common eye infections in newborns.

Bacterial conjunctivitis

Erythromycin ophthalmic is usually prescribed for bacterial conjunctivitis, which can cause redness and swelling of the eyes. However, not all conjunctivitis is caused by bacteria and can be treated with this ointment. Using an eye ointment for bacterial conjunctivitis can help you heal faster and return to school or work sooner .

Bacterial keratitis

Bacterial keratitis is an infection of the cornea (the transparent dome that covers the colored part of the eye) caused by bacteria. It can also be treated with erythromycin ophthalmic ointment.


Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelids caused by bacteria on the skin or at the base of the eyelashes or problems with the oil glands of the eyelids. Your healthcare provider will prescribe an erythromycin eye ointment if you have this condition.

Infectious uveitis

Uveitis can be caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites. When bacteria are the cause, antibiotic ointments can be used as part of treatment. Uveitis is swelling and irritation of the middle layer of the eye, called the choroid .

Neonatal conjunctivitis

Erythromycin ointment is used as a harmless and inexpensive treatment for neonatal conjunctivitis , also called neonatal ophthalmia. Erythromycin ophthalmic can help prevent vision loss caused by bacteria that can enter the baby's eyes during delivery .

Chlamydia and gonorrhea are sexually transmitted infections caused by bacteria that can enter the newborn's eyes during delivery through the mother's birth canal and permanently damage the cornea. Newborns usually receive erythromycin ophthalmic ointment (0.5%) in each eye once shortly after birth. Erythromycin is the only antibiotic ointment recommended for newborns .

Before drinking

Your healthcare provider will determine if a virus, bacteria, or allergen is causing your pink eye based on your history, symptoms, and eye exam results. Your doctor can take a sample of the discharge from an infected eye and send it to a laboratory to determine the cause.

Wearing contact lenses during treatment is not recommended. The ointment can cause the contact lens to move out of its correct position, or it can cover the lens and blur your vision. Wearing glasses can also irritate or worsen eye problems. Ask your healthcare provider when you can go back to wearing contact lenses. You should also speak to your doctor if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding.

Be sure to tell your doctor about all prescription and over-the-counter medications you are taking, as well as any foods such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. Also tell your doctor if you are using eye drops or eye medications.

Precautions and contraindications.

You should inform your doctor if you are allergic to erythromycin or any of the drugs in this class. You should also inform your doctor of any other allergies you have, as these ointments may contain inactive ingredients such as mineral oil and petroleum jelly, which can still cause allergic reactions.

After applying the ointment, blurred vision may be observed for a short time. Avoid driving, working with dangerous tools and machinery, or any activity that requires clear vision.

The risk of this ointment getting into breast milk is unknown. If you are breastfeeding, ask your doctor if it is safe to use an erythromycin ointment.


The dose of this medication will be determined by your healthcare provider and will vary depending on the severity of the infection. Use erythromycin eye ointment exactly as directed.

For adults

Erythromycin ophthalmic ointment approximately 1 cm (less than 0.5 inch) in length should be applied directly to the infected eye up to six times a day, depending on the severity of the infection .

If you miss a dose, use it as soon as you remember. If it is time for your next dose, use only that dose. Do not use double or extra doses .

For babies

For a newborn's eyes, a healthcare provider will apply 1 cm of ointment into a small pocket under the baby's eye once immediately after delivery. The ointment should not be washed out of the baby's eyes.

How to take and store

Here are some helpful tips for using erythromycin ophthalmic ointment:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Prepare a mirror so you can see your eye
  • Tilt your head slightly back
  • Gently lower the lower eyelid to form a small pocket between the eye and the lower eyelid.
  • Hold the tube of ointment with the tip towards this pocket. Hold it close enough for the ointment to get into the eye, but not close enough to touch it.
  • Look up and away from the tip
  • Apply a small amount of ointment to the pocket of the lower eyelid without touching the eye with the tip of the tube. Usually about 1 cm is sufficient, which is a little less than half an inch of ointment, but follow your doctor's instructions for the amount.
  • Gently close your eye and keep it closed for a minute or two to allow the medicine to be absorbed.
  • Gently wipe off any excess pomade from your lashes with a clean cloth. Do not press, do not press or rub the eyes
  • Close the cap immediately after use.

It is important to use erythromycin eye ointment until you finish your prescription, even if you feel better. If you stop using erythromycin ophthalmic too soon, your infection may not clear completely and the bacteria may become resistant to antibiotics.

Make sure the cap of the ointment tube is tightly closed and keep it out of the reach of children. Store the tube at room temperature away from moisture. Do not freeze the ointment.

Side effects


When using erythromycin eye ointment, you may experience common side effects such as:

  • Redness
  • Fire
  • Combustion
  • Temporary blurred vision

Long-term use of erythromycin ophthalmic ointment can lead to fungal infections, probably because the antibiotic removes normal microorganisms from the eye. Tell your doctor if you notice new eye symptoms or if eye symptoms get worse.

Severe reactions

Serious allergic reactions to erythromycin eye ointment are rare, but do occur. Call your doctor right away if you have any symptoms of an allergic reaction, including:

  • Rash
  • Urticaria
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Itching
  • Swelling of the face, tongue, or throat

Warnings and interactions

Medications and supplements can interact with each other. Therefore, when your healthcare provider prescribes an antibiotic eye ointment, it is important to have a clear understanding of all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you are taking. In rare cases, erythromycin can adversely affect the liver, but this has only been found in the case of oral erythromycin, not in an ointment. However, it is worth informing your doctor about everything you are taking.

Are generic drugs safe?

The FDA requires that generic drugs have the same active ingredient, strength, dosage form, and route of administration as the brand-name drug. The generic manufacturer must show that their drug is the same (bioequivalent) as the brand name. – the name of the drug.

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