Why is this medicine prescribed?
Ophthalmic gentamicin is used to treat certain eye infections. Gentamicin is in a class of medications called antibiotics. It works by killing the bacteria that cause infection.
Are there other uses for this medicine?
This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
How should this medicine be used?
Ophthalmic gentamicin comes as a solution (liquid) to instill in the eyes and as an eye ointment to apply to the eyes. The eye drops are usually instilled every 4 to 8 hours and the eye ointment is usually applied two to four times a day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part that you do not understand. Use gentamicin eye drops or eye ointment exactly as directed. Do not use more or less of it or use it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
To instill the eye drops, follow these steps:
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
- Check the dropper tip to make sure that it is not chipped or cracked.
- Avoid touching the dropper tip against your eye or anything else; eye drops and droppers must be kept clean.
- While tilting your head back, pull down the lower lid of your eye with your index finger to form a pocket.
- Hold the dropper (tip down) with the other hand, as close to the eye as possible without touching it.
- Brace the remaining fingers of that hand against your face.
- While looking up, gently squeeze the dropper so that a single drop falls into the pocket made by the lower eyelid. Remove your index finger from the lower eyelid.
- Close your eye for 2 to 3 minutes and tip your head down as though looking at the floor. Try not to blink or squeeze your eyelids.
- Place a finger on the tear duct and apply gentle pressure.
- Wipe any excess liquid from your face with a tissue.
- If you are to use more than one drop in the same eye, wait at least 5 minutes before instilling the next drop.
- Replace and tighten the cap on the dropper bottle. Do not wipe or rinse the dropper tip.
- Wash your hands to remove any medication.
To apply the eye ointment, follow these steps:
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
- Use a mirror or have someone else apply the ointment.
- Avoid touching the tip of the tube against your eye or anything else. The ointment must be kept clean.
- Tilt your head forward slightly.
- Holding the tube between your thumb and index finger, place the tube as near as possible to your eyelid without touching it.
- Brace the remaining fingers of that hand against your cheek or nose.
- With the index finger of your other hand, pull the lower lid of your eye down to form a pocket.
- Place a small amount of ointment into the pocket made by the lower lid and the eye. A 1/2-inch (1.25-centimeter) strip of ointment usually is enough unless otherwise directed by your doctor.
- Gently close your eyes and keep them closed for 1 to 2 minutes to allow the medication to be absorbed.
- Replace and tighten the cap right away.
- Wipe off any excess ointment from your eyelids and lashes with a clean tissue. Wash your hands again.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before using gentamicin eye drops or eye ointment,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to gentamicin, other antibiotics, or any other drugs.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially other eye medications, and vitamins.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while using gentamicin, call your doctor immediately.
- you should know that your vision may be blurred during your treatment with gentamicin ophthalmic ointment. Avoid rubbing your eyes even if your vision is blurred. Do not drive a car or operate machinery if you are unable to see clearly.
- tell your doctor if you wear soft contact lenses. You should not wear contact lenses while you have an eye infection.
What should I do if I forget to take a dose?
Instill or apply the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not instill or apply a double dose to make up for a missed one.
What side effects can this medicine cause?
Gentamicin eye drops or eye ointment may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- eye irritation, burning, or stinging
- swelling of the eye
What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom).
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA's Safe Disposal of Medicines website ( http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p ) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
It is important to keep all medication out of sight and reach of children as many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and young children can open them easily. To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location – one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach. http://www.upandaway.org
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor.
Do not let anyone else use your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
If you still have symptoms of infection after you finish the gentamicin eye drops or eye ointment, call your doctor.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.