This usually refers to a drop or pill that is designed to kill or decrease the proliferation of bacteria.  The eye is well protected from infection by the conjunctiva and the corneal epithelium. In addition, the tear film contains antimicrobials and the tear flow itself tends to wash away pathogens. The eye also harbors a host of non-pathogenic bacteria that competitively prohibit new bacteria growth. However, these eye defenses can be breached by trauma, improper tearing, or contact lens wear and lead to an infection.  Topical antibiotics work best for the eye given the avascular nature of the cornea.

Dr. Timothy Root is a practicing ophthalmologist and cataract surgeon in Daytona Beach, Florida. His books, video lectures, and training resources can be found at:


  1. There are many antibiotic drops that we use in ophthalmology … and every doctor has their favorites. Preference depends upon availability and drug coverage.

    As a medical student, I found pharmacology daunting, so here are my most common prescribed antibiotics that I find myself using:

    ————— DROPS —————

    1. Erythromycin: Inexpensive ointment, OK coverage, well tolerated and good for blepharitis.

    2. Tobramycin: Inexpensive drop, decent bacterial coverage. Cheap generic available and often packaged in more expensive combination drops (i.e. tobradex).

    3. Moxifloxacin: Powerful fluoroquinolone antibiotic. Good coverage. Used with contact lens infections and after surgery.

    4. Gatifloxacin: Same as moxi.

    ————— PILLS —————

    1. Keflex: cheap, good for skin and sinus infections. Used with styes, chalazions, hordeolums.

    2. Augmentin: more powerful. Used in cases where I’m afraid of early cellulitis.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here