About levofloxacin for eye infections
|Type of medicine||Antibacterial eye preparation|
|Used for||Eye infections in adults or in children over 1 year of age|
|Available as||Eye drops and single-use eye drops|
Levofloxacin eye drops are used to treat bacterial eye infections. Levofloxacin works by helping to kill the bacteria which are causing the infection.
Eye infections are a common cause of conjunctivitis. In conjunctivitis, your eye becomes inflamed, feels gritty, and may water more than usual. The white of your eye may look red, and your eyelids may become swollen and stuck together with a discharge when you wake up in the morning. Only one eye may be infected to begin with, but it often spreads to both eyes. Most cases of infective conjunctivitis clear within a week or so without treatment. For more severe infections, or for infections which do not clear on their own, an antibiotic eye drop such as levofloxacin is used.
Before using levofloxacin eye drops
Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start using levofloxacin it is important that your doctor or pharmacist knows:
- If you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to levofloxacin or any other antibiotic, or to any other eye drops.
- If you are taking or using any other medicines, including those available to buy without a prescription, herbal and complementary medicines.
How to use levofloxacin eye drops
Before you start this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from the pack. The leaflet will give you more information about the drops you have been given, and a full list of possible side-effects from using them. If your eyes have an obvious discharge or 'crust', it can help if you bathe them with cool clean water before using levofloxacin.
- Wash your hands well before you use the drops.
- Remove the cap (or the tip of the unit if you are using a single-use dose unit).
- Tilt your head back a little and pull the lower lid of your eye out to form a pocket.
- Hold the bottle (or single-use dose unit) upside down near to your eye. Try not to touch your eye as you do this.
- Apply enough pressure to release one drop into your eye.
- Close your eye for a minute or two, and press gently on the side of your nose where the corner of your eye meets your nose. This helps to stop the drop from draining away and keeps it in your eye.
- Repeat the process in your other eye if you have been told to use the drops in both eyes.
- Replace the cap (or if you are using the single-use dose unit, throw it away).
Getting the most from your treatment
- Use these drops every two hours for the first two days. (Just use the drops while you are awake - you do not need to wake yourself up during the night to put them in.) On day three, reduce the frequency down to four times a day. Try not to miss any doses. If you forget to put the drops in on time, do it as soon as you remember.
- When you first put the drop into your eye, it may cause blurred vision. This should quickly clear, but make sure you can see clearly before you drive or use machines or tools.
- You should use these drops for five days unless your doctor has told you otherwise. If your infection is no better after this time, make another appointment to see your doctor for advice. If your symptoms become worse while you are using levofloxacin, you should arrange to see your doctor for advice straightaway. In particular, see your doctor again if your eye becomes painful, if light starts to hurt your eyes, or if your sight is affected.
- Take care to avoid spreading the infection from one eye to the other, and to other members of your family. Washing your hands regularly (particularly after touching your eyes), and not sharing towels or pillows will help to prevent the infection from spreading.
- Eye infections can cause your eyes to become more sensitive to sunlight than usual. Wearing sunglasses may help to prevent this.
- Do not wear contact lenses until your symptoms have completely gone. Wait for 24 hours after the last dose of eye drops before using your lenses again.
- If you are using any other eye drops or eye ointments, leave 5-10 minutes between applying each preparation.
Can levofloxacin eye drops cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.
|Common levofloxacin side-effects - these affect less than 1 in 10 people who use these drops||What can I do if I experience this?|
|A burning feeling, decreased vision, and mucus in your eye||These should quickly clear. If any continues or becomes troublesome, speak with your doctor|
|Redness, itching, swollen eyelids||If these continue or become troublesome, speak with your doctor. They may be symptoms of the infection, or that you have an allergy to the drops|
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to these eye drops, discuss them with your doctor or pharmacist.
How to store levofloxacin eye drops
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
- Throw away the bottle after you have finished the five-day course of treatment, even if there is some left. Never keep opened bottles of eye drops to use later.
- Single-dose units should be used immediately the unit is opened. Do not store or re-use opened units for subsequent doses. This is because the units do not contain any preservative.
Important information about all medicines
Further reading & references
- British National Formulary; 62nd Edition (Sep 2011) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.
Prof Cathy Jackson