What are antibiotic eye drops?
Antibiotic eye drops are those that contain medications used to kill bacteria. They are commonly used to treat bacterial conjunctivitis or "conjunctivitis". These eye drops must be prescribed by a healthcare professional in many countries, so they are not always available without a prescription. There are also homemade antibiotic eye drops that contain natural and homeopathic ingredients that have been shown to have antimicrobial properties.
The use of antibiotic eye drops is common for those with an eye infection. Conjunctivitis can occur when a pathogen or allergen enters the eye and causes an infection, causing redness, swelling, and sometimes oozing or discharge. Eye drops that contain an antibiotic can be used to treat conjunctivitis when it is caused by bacteria. Eye infections caused by viruses or allergens will not be successfully treated with antibiotics.
Patients with signs of conjunctivitis should speak to a doctor immediately. Antibiotic eye drops must be prescribed by a healthcare professional in many areas, although over-the-counter eye drops can help relieve discomfort until a doctor can be seen. Patients should follow all the doctor's instructions and use their eye drops for the recommended time to ensure all bacteria are killed. Otherwise, it can lead to another infection.
There are also antibiotic eye drops that consumers can buy without a prescription, although they are not considered real antibiotics. Most of them are homeopathic remedies with ingredients that have some antimicrobial properties. These can include honey, jasmine and others. Some are sold specifically to help treat conjunctivitis, while others are just meant to help with symptoms. While natural eye drops are generally considered safe, it's a good idea to have all symptoms examined by a doctor.
Some doctors may prescribe antibiotic eye drops even before the cause of symptoms is known. While medications can work for bacterial infections, there is nothing that cures a viral infection except the body's immune system. Allergies are also not curable, although they can be controlled. If the condition is not caused by bacteria, there are eye drops that will help relieve symptoms until the infection is cured. Both viral and allergy-related infections usually heal over time.