Pink Eye Antibiotics

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Pink eye, which is also known as conjunctivitis or madras eye, is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the outer layer of the eye. It is characterized by redness, itchiness, tearing and discharges.

Antibiotic medications are used to treat bacterial conjunctivitis. As the name implies, this type of pink eye is caused by bacteria and antibiotic drugs function to kill the causative bacteria. Antibiotics can be in the form of eye drops or eye ointment.

After you start the antibiotic treatment, the infection should be resolved within a few days. Antibiotic eye ointment is usually used instead of the eye drops to treat pink eye on children. For infants and younger children, the eye drops are preferred despite the fact that it can blur the vision for until 20 minutes after application because it is easier to administer. But whether you use eye drops or ointment, expect that the signs and symptoms will subside in a few days. Make sure to follow the doctor’s instructions, buy the prescribed amount and used it within the prescribed date to prevent recurrence of the infection.

The commonly prescribed antibiotics used to treat bacterial pink eye are Gentamycin, Polytrim, Tobramycin and Sulfonamides. These are actually old medications and newer drugs are in the market today. These drugs include Ciloxan, Ocuflex, Vigamox and Quixin. These newer drugs are mostly prescribed by doctors nowadays because they work faster and have not developed resistance to bacteria. The advantage of using eye drops is that it can’t give a temporary blurring of vision because it’s in a transparent liquid form.

Some patients would prefer to use ointments to treat bacterial pink eye. Ciloxan, Bacitracin, Erythromycin and Gentamycin are some examples of the commonly prescribed ointments.

One famous brand of antibiotics in the form of eye drops or ointment is the ophthalmic ciprofloxacin. You can apply ciprofloxacin ophthalmic solution between once in every fifteen minutes to every four hours while awake for as long as seven to fourteen days or more. The ointment can be applied three times a day for only two days and then two times a day for five days. It is recommended that it should only be applied according to the doctor’s instruction.

However, according to a research done by The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews in 2006, antibiotics can hasten the disease course of conjunctivitis but not much.

Sheikh’s team reviewed 10 studies of antibiotics and pinkeye caused by bacteria. The studies varied in their size. Some included kids as well as adults. They compared two groups affected with bacterial pink eye. The first group was given placebo and the other was given antibiotics. And the result? They found out that the signs and symptoms of pink eye disappeared quickly in people who took antibiotics, but the advantages are only minimal because in most cases the infection is self-limiting, which means it disappears on its own. The group given the placebo also improved markedly in a matter of two to five days.

So, usually, applying antibiotic treatment to the affected eye is done after three days of no intervention. If the symptoms persist even after three days, the patient can employ antibiotic treatment.


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