What Are Tobramycin Eye Drops?

Jacquelyn Gilchrist

Tobramycin eye drops are prescribed for the treatment of infections. These drops are aminoglycoside antibiotics used to combat bacterial infections of the eye. A doctor may prescribe these eye drops alone or in conjunction with other medications. Some patients may also be given the ointment form of the drug. Before using this drug, patients should discuss possible side effects and precautions with their doctors.

Tobramycin eye drops.
Tobramycin eye drops.

Patients should ensure that they use the full course of prescribed medication to fully clear up the infection. Before applying the drops, they must thoroughly wash their hands. They may then tilt their heads back and gently pull down the lower eyelid of the affected eye to form a pocket for applying the specified number of drops. To avoid bacterial contamination, the dropper should not touch any surface.

Tobramycin drops reduce eye bacteria.
Tobramycin drops reduce eye bacteria.

After applying the drops, the patient should keep his eyes closed for about two minutes. Avoiding blinking and keeping the eyes closed for this period of time is essential for the medicine to work properly. Those who are prescribed two separate eye medications should wait at least five minutes between applications. Most patients are prescribed one dosage of tobramycin eye drops every four hours, but those with very severe infections may be prescribed one dosage every hour.

Some side effects may occur with the use of tobramycin eye drops, which should be reported to the prescribing physician if they become severe. The eye may tear up temporarily, or it may itch or swell. Some patients have reported a burning or stinging sensation. Those who also use the tobramycin eye ointment may experience a temporary blurring of the vision.

More serious side effects require medical attention. Patients should contact their doctors if they experience severe itching, swelling, or irritation of the eyelid. An overdose may sometimes occur. Signs of a possible overdose may include increased watering of the eyes and painful irritation.

Before using tobramycin eye drops to treat a bacterial eye infection, patients must disclose their other medical conditions, medications, and supplements to their doctors. As of 2011, it is unknown whether the drug may pass into breast milk and harm a nursing infant. Women who are pregnant should avoid this medicine whenever possible, because it may cause harm to an unborn fetus. Patients who wear contact lenses must avoid doing so while they have an active eye infection. Tobramycin eye drops may interact with other drugs, including tacrolimus, succinylcholine, and alcuronium.

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