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Chloramphenicol eye drops

Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen MartinReviewed on 19.10.2023 | 2 minutes read

Chloramphenicol is a broad-spectrum antibiotic that works against a wide variety of bacteria and is used to treat minor bacterial eye infections. The eye drops can be used in children and adults and must be prescribed by your doctor. In some cases, your doctor may prescribe an alternative eye treatment that could be more appropriate than chloramphenicol. Viral and fungal eye infections can cause very similar symptoms but need different treatments. Due to the frequency that the eye drops need to be applied, using them at night is not advised; therefore, the doctor may also prescribe chloramphenicol eye ointment for use at night.

Who is it for?

Children and adults can use chloramphenicol eye drops to treat bacterial eye infections (bacterial conjunctivitis).

How do I use it?

Dosing of chloramphenicol eye drops will depend on the type of infection. Your doctor will tell you how often to use it.

You should continue using chloramphenicol eye drops for the full treatment duration recommended by your doctor. If your symptoms show no improvement within 48 hours or get any worse, you should see your doctor quickly as you may need alternative treatment. Discard any remaining contents after 28 days of first opening the bottle.

Should anyone avoid taking it?

This medication should not be used in children under 2 years or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, unless prescribed by your doctor. If you wear contact lenses, you should see or speak to your doctor urgently, as serious eye infections are more common.

Are there any side effects?

As with any medication, some people are bound to get some unwanted side effects. Some of the common ones include irritation, blurred vision, stinging, and itching of the eyes.

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This article has been written by UK-based doctors and pharmacists, so some advice may not apply to US users and some suggested treatments may not be available. For more information, please see our T&Cs.
Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed on 19.10.2023
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