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What Is Gentamicin Sulfate Ophthalmic Solution?

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  • Written By: J.M. Densing
  • Edited By: R. Halprin
  • Last Modified Date: 27 March 2014
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Gentamicin sulfate ophthalmic solution is an antibiotic preparation that is administered as eye drops to treat bacterial infections of the eye. It is used to treat conditions like bacterial conjunctivitis and dosing instructions vary depending on the type and severity of the infection. Gentamicin sulfate ophthalmic solution should be handled with care to avoid contamination and applied to the eyes only. It has relatively few side effects, but patients should be aware that blurred vision may occur. Signs of an allergic reaction require immediate medical attention and include a rash, and swelling of the throat, face, or tongue.

Gentamicin sulfate ophthalmic solution is a medication that is part of a drug class called aminoglycoside antibiotics. It works by killing the bacteria that cause infections in the eye. It is also known by the brand names Genoptic, Gentak, Garamycin, and Gentasol. It is available as a bottle of sterile eye drops, with the gentamycin sulfate suspended in an "aqueous, buffered solution" with a neutral pH. The active ingredient is also available in an ophthalmic ointment.

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Used to treat or prevent bacterial infections of the eye only, gentamicin sulfate ophthalmic solution is ineffective for the treatment of viral conditions or other areas of the body. Examples of conditions treated with this medication include bacterial conjunctivitis, corneal ulcers, keratitis, and blepharitis. Dosage instructions and duration of treatment depend on the severity and type of infection and the patient's response to the medication; one or two drops are usually applied every four hours in the affected eyes, however.

The bottle should be handled with care to avoid contamination of the solution; special care should be taken to ensure that the applicator tip doesn't touch anything. Before using gentamicin sulfate ophthalmic solution, begin by washing the hands. Next, look up and tilt the head back and gently pull down on the lower eyelid to form a tiny pocket. Place one drop of solution into this area, then gently close the eye and look down, keeping the eye closed for one or two minutes. Repeat this process for each drop.

While using gentamicin sulfate ophthalmic solution, contact lenses may not be worn, and no other eye medications should be used for five to 10 minutes after placing the drops in the eyes. The most common side effect is a slight stinging sensation that lasts a short time after using the drops. In some cases, blurred vision can result; patients should therefore use caution in activities that require sharp vision such as driving. Allergic reactions are rare, but symptoms can include itching, a rash, difficulty breathing, and swelling of the face, throat, or tongue. If these occur, seek medical attention as soon as possible.

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