How Effective Is Tobramycin for Pink Eye?

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  • Written By: S. Berger
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 01 July 2019
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Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, can be caused by bacterial infections in the connective tissue of the eyeball. Several treatments are available, but taking tobramycin for pink eye is one of the more common remedies for the following two reasons. This medication can usually effectively treat this type of infection in most individuals, and generally has a low incidence rate of side effects. Conjunctivitis that is due to viral infections or other causes will not usually respond to this type of therapy, as it is only meant to kill bacteria.

Usually, people take a solution of 0.3 percent tobramycin for pink eye. Diluted solutions of medication like this can be applied directly to the eye, allowing for more rapid and thorough relief than could be achieved with an oral medication. At the beginning of treatment, many people take one to two drops of this drug every two hours, for the first two days. After that, the frequency of dosing can be decreased, to one to two drops taken every four to six hours.

Sometimes, other medications may be used with tobramycin for treating pink eye. Steroid hormones such as dexamethasone may be combined directly with this drug in order to reduce inflammation in the eye. Additionally, some people may take oral analgesics to control the pain that can result from these types of infections. Other antibiotics, in ointment form, may also comprise a treatment combination, depending on the extent of the infection.


Occasionally there may be a risk of side effects when taking tobramycin for pink eye. Adverse effects are usually relatively mild, and generally restricted to irritation or sensitivity of the eye. Occasionally, there can be an increased risk of a secondary infection, especially when the antibiotic is combined with a steroid. Allergies can sometimes also occur, and in extremely rare situations, may pose serious dangers. Most people do not experience any adverse events when using this drug, however.

People that do not experience relief after several days of taking tobramycin for pink eye may wish to consult their doctor. There could be multiple reasons that the infection is not responding to the therapy, including the possibility of bacterial resistance to this drug. Most strains of bacteria that can cause pink eye are not resistant, but this type of event can sometimes still occur. Alternately, the conjunctivitis could be due to fungus or viruses, which would require different strategies in order to manage the problem.


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Post 3

@MikeMason-- Did you have swelling before or was that after you used tobramycin? You might just be allergic to the medication. I think you should stop using it immediately.

I don't think most of us use antibiotic eye drops often enough to cause bacterial resistance, so I doubt that's the case.

Post 2

@MikeMason-- Usually tobramycin can be applied more than that but it's already been three days, so I think you should see your doctor once again.

Sometimes conjuctivitis is caused by allergies and antibacterial eye drops will not be effective. Your doctor might want to switch you to a different drug, perhaps with antihistamine.

I had bacterial conjuctivitis twice and tobramycin worked very well both times. My symptoms got better in several days. So I think there is something else going on in your case.

Post 1

I've been using tobramycin drops for the past three days for pink eye but I don't think it's working. The swelling is still there and my eye is still irritated and red.

I've been applying one drop in each eye several times a day. Do I need to apply it more often?

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