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What Is Tobramycin Ointment?

By Meshell Powell
Updated May 17, 2024
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Tobramycin ointment is a topical antibiotic used to treat certain bacterial infections affecting the eyes. This ointment is normally applied to the eyes twice daily unless otherwise directed by the prescribing physician. Some of the most commonly reported side effects of tobramycin ointment include burning, itching, and redness of the affected eye. Additional side effects may involve swelling of the eye, blurred vision, or light sensitivity. Specific questions or concerns about the use of tobramycin ointment should be discussed with a doctor or pharmacist.

It is important to use tobramycin ointment exactly as prescribed by a doctor, even if symptoms begin to improve. Patients are normally asked to avoid wearing contact lenses while using this medication in order to avoid further eye irritation. Tasks such as driving or operating machinery should be avoided if blurred vision or other types of visual disturbances occur. If the symptoms worsen or signs of a new infection develop, a doctor should be consulted right away.

Most side effects of tobramycin ointment are relatively mild in nature and do not prevent the patient from being able to successfully use the medication. A temporary burning or stinging sensation when applying the ointment is normal and typically disappears within a few minutes following application. Redness, itching, and mild swelling are also possible. If these symptoms persist or become bothersome, a doctor should be consulted for further evaluation.

In some cases, tobramycin ointment may not interact well with other medications. For this reason, the prescribing physician should be notified of any over-the-counter, prescription, or herbal medications that are being taken. Women who are pregnant or may become pregnant should not use this antibiotic due to potential complications. If additional eye medications are being used, a doctor should be consulted for instructions on the proper amount of time before application.

Allergic reactions are possible when using tobramycin ointment and may range from mild to severe in nature. Excessive itching, swelling, and redness may be caused by an allergic reaction to the medication, although it may also indicate the development of a secondary fungal infection. A severe and potentially life-threatening type of allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis may occasionally result from the use of this ointment. Symptoms may include difficulty breathing, throat swelling, and chest pain. Emergency medical intervention is necessary any time a person shows possible signs of an allergic reaction because anaphylaxis can cause death within a matter of minutes.

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