Tetracycline (Ophtalmic)

Tetracycline (Ophthalmic) is an antibiotic used to treat a range of bacterial eye infections, such as conjunctivitis, sty, and blepharitis.


Tetracycline (Ophthalmic) is an antibiotic ointment intended for the treatment of eye infections. This overview focuses exclusively on Tetracycline for ophthalmic purposes.

In the United States, Tetracycline (Ophthalmic) is commonly referred to as an Ocudox Convenience Kit. Other names include Achromycin and Aureomycin.

Tetracycline (Ophthalmic) is mainly used to stop and prevent the spread of bacterial eye infections. In addition, ophthalmic surgeons may prescribe this antibiotic to prevent eye inflammation after surgery.

Another widely used application for Tetracycline (Ophthalmic) is in neonatal units, where it is usually administered in the folds of newborns' eyelids within an hour of birth. This is done to prevent the transmission of neonatal conjunctivitis (a strain of gonococci).

It is not effective for viral infections, however, such as the cold or flu.

Another Important Fact: Tetracycline (Ophthalmic) is sometimes used as an alternative treatment for patients who are allergic to penicillin.

Types of Eye Infections Treated

Tetracycline is generally prescribed for the following bacterial eye infections when penicillin is not an option:

  • Cornea Inflammation - Also Known As Keratitis
  • Eyelid Inflammation - Also Known As Blepharitis
  • Ocular Surface Inflammation - Also Known As Conjunctivitis
  • Sty
  • Tear Sac Inflammation - Also Known As Dacryocystitis
  • Trachoma

Condition(s) Treated?

  • Superficial Eye Infections
  • Eye Inflammation

Type of Medicine?

  • Tetracycline or Broad-Spectrum Antibiotic

Side Effects

One of the most common side effects of Tetracycline (Ophthalmic) is blurred vision. However, this side effect is usually temporary and generally lasts minutes. If the symptom does not clear up within this time frame, or it worsens, seek medical help right away.

Tetracycline (Ophthalmic) may also cause contact dermatitis as it contains lanolin. Nevertheless, this is considered a rare side effect.

Common Side Effects

Other common side effects include:

  • Aches and Pains
  • Burning or Stinging Sensation in the Eyes
  • Eye Irritation
  • Eyelid Inflammation
  • Tear Discharge

When to Get Medical Help

Before using this medicine, inform your doctor if you had any past hypersensitivities to food, dyes, preservatives, or animal products. Some signs of an allergic reaction include:

  • Trouble Breathing
  • Rashes or Hives
  • Coughing and Wheezing
  • Swollen Face, Lips, or Tongue
  • Persistent Redness in the Eye

If any of these symptoms occur, seek medical help right away.


The below guideline is just a general recommendation of doses for children and adults. No two patients are alike and it is therefore vital that you do not alter the dosage prescribed by your healthcare worker. The dose of Tetracycline (Ophthalmic) given to you is usually dependent on:

  • Pre-Existing Medical Conditions - Healthcare Providers May Adjust the Dose
  • The Interval Between Doses - The Wait Time Between Scheduled Doses
  • The Medicine Strength - Ointments Are Available in Varied Forms
  • The Number of Times per Day Prescribed - This Varies from Patient to Patient
  • The Timeline for Treatment - How Long Your Doctor Decides to Treat the Eye Infection
  • The Type of Eye Infection - Doctors Can Analyze this Using a Variety of Methods

Note: Tetracycline (Ophthalmic) cannot be purchased over-the-counter. It must be prescribed by a medical professional. Though the antibiotic should not be taken orally, the treatment may be combined with other classes of oral antibiotics, if the healthcare provider deems this necessary.

Tetracycline (Ophthalmic) Ointment Doses

Generally, doctors prescribe a small drop of ointment into the folds of the eyelids several times per day.

Here are the most common prescription scenarios for Tetracycline (Ophthalmic):

  • Newborns: 0.5 - 1 cm | 1X | 60 Minutes Post Birth
  • Children and Adults: 1 cm | 3-4X Daily for 5-7 Days

A healthcare worker may up this dosage to up to six times per day in some cases. In addition, more acute eye infections could extend the treatment period by one to two months.

How to Administer Tetracycline (Ophthalmic)

Here are a few tips on how to apply Tetracycline (Ophthalmic) to infected eye areas. Be sure to read the prescription label carefully before use and to check with your pharmacist or healthcare worker if you need more help:

  • Start Off in a Sterile Environment - Patients should wash their hands thoroughly for approximately two minutes and rinse under hot running water to ensure the hands are clean before applying the ointment to the eyelids.
  • Drop into the Eyelids - Pull back the lower portion of each eyelid and, using the other hand, squeeze a strip of the ointment (about 1 cm) into the inner folds without touching the eye.
  • Wait a Few Minutes - Allow the ointment to saturate by closing your eyes for one or two minutes.
  • Prevent Reinfections - Do not use the applicator tip directly onto the infected eye/eyes. Rinse your hands thoroughly once more before recapping the ointment tube. Additionally, most pharmacists recommend using a clean and unused tissue to wipe the top of the tube before sealing.

Missed Doses

If you miss a dose of Tetracycline (Ophthalmic), take it as soon as you remember, but it is important that you do not double the dose.


Some medicines have confirmed negative interactions with Tetracycline (Ophthalmic). In particular, advise your medical provider if you are currently taking the following prescriptions:

  • Acitretin
  • Isotretinoin
  • Penicillin
  • Warafin

Tetracycline (Ophthalmic) should not be combined with corticosteroids for eye infections. In clinical studies, it has been revealed that combining both medicines or simultaneous use could cause certain symptoms to be disguised.

In addition, certain topical antibiotic agents should not be used concurrently with Tetracycline (Ophthalmic). Some examples include:

  • Aminoglycosides
  • Cephalosporins
  • Penicillin

Lifestyle Habits

Tell your doctor if you smoke tobacco products or drink alcohol. These products could affect the efficacy of medications.


Do Not Wear Contact Lenses During Treatment

A prescription glasses should be used as a substitute for contact lenses during the course of treatment and until the infection clears up to prevent serious damage to the eyes.

Take the Full Dosage for the Prescribed Length

Even if you're feeling better after taking the medicine for some time, it is important to complete the full course of treatment. This approach gives patients the best chance of recovery.

Full treatment is therefore recommended even if symptoms of the eye infection are no longer present.

On the other hand, the medication should not be taken for longer than prescribed, as this could result in a second infection.

Protect Your Eyes

Patients who are using this medicine may be more susceptible to sunburn. As a result, your pharmacist may tell you to exercise certain precautions to help protect your eyes. These include wearing a hat or pair of sunglass when going outside.

High-Risk Patients

Tetracycline (Ophthalmic) has not been shown to cause any adverse reactions in pediatric or geriatric populations. Based on the findings of clinical studies, however, Tetracycline (Ophthalmic) may cause bone, skeletal, or teeth development issues in fetuses and nursing infants. As a result, pregnant and nursing mothers should always consult a primary healthcare provider or pharmacist before using this medicine.

Safety Precautions

Since temporary blurring of the vision is common while using Tetracycline (Ophthalmic) and when experiencing infections of the eye, it is recommended that patients assign a designation driver or alternate transport method until the infection clears. Also, do not operate heavy machinery while taking Tetracycline (Ophthalmic).

Antibiotic Resistance Warning

The overuse of antibiotics could lead to antibiotic resistance later on. This means that certain infections may become resistant to the drug.

It is therefore important to use Tetracycline (Ophthalmic) in the manner it is prescribed and for the specific length of time ordered by the pharmacist. Be sure to dispose of the medicine after completing the treatment.


To protect the integrity of the medicine, be sure to store Tetracycline (0phthalmic) in a cool and dry area in your home. Pharmacists do not recommend storing Tetracycline (Ophthalmic) in areas that are usually hot and humid.

After opening the eye ointment, store it an area that is below 25 degrees Celsius. Pay attention to the expiration date and do not use following 28 days of opening the eye ointment.

Any unused portion of Tetracycline (Ophthalmic) should be disposed of carefully and outside of areas that may be accessible to children and pets. The best way to dispose of any medicine is to hand it to a pharmacist.


Tetracycline (Ophthalmic) is prescribed for the treatment of bacterial eye infections resulting from a range of microorganisms. Some of the most common include conjunctivitis, or eyelid; cornea; and ocular inflammations.

Healthcare workers sometimes prescribe this medicine when other agents like penicillin commonly used to treat eye infections cannot be used in patients who are allergic.

Moreover, Tetracycline (Ophthalmic) is widely used in neonatal units to prevent certain eye infections in newborns.

The prescription should be taken for the full prescribed period to ensure the infection fully clears up.