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What is Erythromycin Eye Ointment?

Erythromycin Eye Ointment treats certain eye infections (such as conjunctivitis). It is also used to prevent certain eye infections in newborns. It belongs to a class of drugs known as macrolide antibiotics. Erythromycin works by stopping the growth of bacteria. This medication treats only bacterial eye infections. It will not work for other types of eye infections. Unnecessary use or misuse of any antibiotic can lead to its decreased effectiveness.

Ophthalmic erythromycin comes as an ointment to apply to the eyes. It is usually applied up to six times a day for eye infections. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Use erythromycin eye ointment exactly as directed. 

To use the  Erythromycin eye ointment, follow these steps:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
  • Use a mirror or have someone else apply the ointment.
  • Avoid touching the tip of the tube against your eye or anything else. The ointment must be kept clean.
  • Tilt your head forward slightly.
  • Holding the tube between your thumb and index finger, place it near your eyelid as close as possible without touching it.
  • With the index finger of your other hand, pull the lower lid of your eye to form a pocket.
  • Place a small amount of ointment into the pocket made by the lower lid and the eye. A 1-centimeter  strip of ointment usually is enough unless otherwise directed by your doctor.
  • Look downward, then gently close your eyes and keep them closed for 1 to 2 minutes to allow the medication to be absorbed.
  • Replace and tighten the cap right away.
  • Wipe off any excess ointment from your eyelids and lashes with a clean tissue. Do not rub your eyes, even if your vision is blurry. Wash your hands again.
  • Use ophthalmic erythromycin until you finish the prescription, even if you feel better. If you stop using ophthalmic erythromycin too soon, your infection may not be completely cured, and the bacteria may become resistant to antibiotics.

Before Taking Erythromycin Eye Ointment

Before using Erythromycin eye ointment, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it, other macrolide antibiotics, or any other allergies.  

After you apply this drug, your vision may become temporarily blurred. Do not drive, use machinery, or do any activity requiring clear vision until you can safely perform such activities.

During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when needed. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding.

Erythromycin Eye Ointment Side Effects

Common side effects of Erythromycin eye ointment include:

  • minor eye irritations,
  • stinging,
  • burning,
  • redness,
  • temporary blurred vision, and
  • hypersensitivity reactions.

FAQs

Can you use Erythromycin eye ointment for a stye?

Most of the time, a stye will go away on its own within a week. If necessary, your provider might prescribe erythromycin along with warm compresses to help it heal faster.

How many days do you use Erythromycin?

Use Erythromycin as prescribed, and don't stop taking it earlier, even if you start to feel better.

What are the side effects of Erythromycin eye ointment?

Side effects from Erythromycin eye ointment include irritation, redness, or allergic reaction in or around the eye. The side effects are usually mild and go away shortly after applying it.

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