Chloramphenicol is a broad-spectrum antibiotic that works against a wide variety of bacteria, and is used to treat minor bacterial eye infections. The eye drops can be used in children and adults over the age of 2 years and purchased from your pharmacy after discussing the symptoms with your pharmacist. In some situations your pharmacist may suggest an alternative eye treatment that could be more appropriate than chloramphenicol. Viral and fungal eye infections can cause very similar symptoms, but need different treatment. Due to the frequency that the eye drops need to be applied, using them at night is not advised, therefore the pharmacist may also suggest chloramphenicol eye ointment for use at night.
Chloramphenicol eye drops can be used by children and adults over the age of 2 years for the treatment of bacterial eye infection (bacterial conjunctivitis). It is important to discuss your symptoms with a pharmacist in order to distinguish them from other eye conditions that may need different treatment.
Chloramphenicol eye drops should be stored in the fridge between 2°C and 8°C. For the first 48 hours of treatment, 1 drop should be used in the affected eye(s) every 2 hours. After 48 hours, the frequency can be reduced to every 4 hours. You should continue using chloramphenicol eye drops for 2 days after the eye appears normal up to a maximum treatment duration of 5 days. If your symptoms show no improvement within 48hrs or get any worse, you should see your doctor quickly as you may need alternative treatment. Discard any remaining contents after 28 days of first opening the bottle.
This medication should not be used in children under 2 years or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, unless under supervision by a doctor. If you wear contact lenses, you should see or speak to your doctor urgently as serious eye infections are more common.
As with any medications, some people are bound to get some unwanted side effects. Some of the common ones include irritation, blurred vision, stinging and itching of the eyes.