Ophthalmic erythromycin is used to treat bacterial infections of the eye. This medication is also used to prevent bacterial infections of the eye in newborn babies. Erythromycin is in a class of medications called macrolide antibiotics. It works by killing bacteria that cause infections.
Ophthalmic erythromycin comes as an ointment to apply to the eyes. It is usually applied up to six times a day for eye infections. Ophthalmic erythromycin is usually applied one time in the hospital soon after delivery to prevent eye infections in newborn babies. 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. Do not use more or less of it or use it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
You should expect your symptoms to improve during your treatment. Call your doctor if your symptoms get worse or do not go away, or if you develop other problems with your eyes during your treatment.
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 the tube as near as possible to your eyelid without touching it.
Brace the remaining fingers of that hand against your cheek or nose.
With the index finger of your other hand, pull the lower lid of your eye down to form a pocket.
Place a small amount of ointment into the pocket made by the lower lid and the eye. A 1-centimeter (about 1/2-inch) 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.
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
Apply the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not apply extra ointment to make up for a missed dose.
redness, itching, stinging, or burning of the eye
Erythromycin eye ointment may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while using this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Do not freeze erythromycin eye ointment. Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
Keep all appointments with your doctor.
Do not let anyone else use your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
Last Revised - 05/15/2013
AHFS® Consumer Medication Information. © Copyright, 2014. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 7272 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland. All Rights Reserved. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized by ASHP.