Tobramycin Ophthalmic : Uses, Side Effects, Interactions & More

Why is this medication prescribed?

Tobramycin ophthalmic is used to treat eye infections. Tobramycin is in a class of drugs called antibiotics. It works by killing bacteria that cause infections.

How should this medicine be used?

Tobramycin ophthalmic comes as a solution (liquid) to instill into the eyes and as an eye ointment to apply to the eyes. The eye drops are usually applied every 4 to 8 hours, and the 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 parts you do not understand. Use Tobramycin Ophthalmic or ointment exactly as directed. Do not use more or less or use it more often than prescribed by your doctor.

To instill the eye drops, follow these steps:

  1. Wash your hands well with soap and water.
  2. Check the dropper tip to make sure it is not chipped or cracked.
  3. Avoid touching the tip of the dropper against your eye or anything else; Eye drops and droppers must be kept clean.
  4. While tilting your head back, lower the lower lid of your eye with your index finger to form a pocket.
  5. Hold the dropper (tip down) with the other hand, as close to the eye as possible without touching it.
  6. Rest the remaining fingers of that hand against your face.
  7. While looking up, gently squeeze the dropper so that a single drop falls into the pocket formed by the lower eyelid. Remove your index finger from the lower eyelid.
  8. Close your eye for 2 to 3 minutes and tilt your head down as if looking at the ground. Try not to blink or squeeze your eyelids.
  9. Place a finger over the tear duct and apply gentle pressure.
  10. Wipe any excess fluid from your face with a tissue.
  11. If you are using more than one drop in the same eye, wait at least 5 minutes before instilling the next drop.
  12. Replace and tighten the dropper bottle cap. Do not clean or rinse the dropper tip.
  13. Wash your hands to remove any medicine.

To use the eye ointment, follow these instructions:

  1. Wash your hands well with soap and water.
  2. Use a mirror or have someone else apply the ointment to you.
  3. Avoid touching the tip of the tube against your eye or anything else.
  4. The ointment must be kept clean.
  5. Tilt your head slightly forward.
  6. Holding the tube between your thumb and forefinger, place the tube as close to your eyelid as possible without touching it.
  7. Rest the remaining fingers of that hand against your cheek or nose.
    With the index finger of the other hand, pull the lower lid of the eye down to form a pocket.
  8. Put a small amount of ointment in the pocket formed by the lower eyelid and the eye. A 1/2-inch (1.25-centimeter) strip of ointment is usually sufficient, unless your doctor tells you otherwise.
  9. Look down, then gently close your eyes and keep them closed for 1 to 2 minutes to allow the medicine to absorb.
  10. Replace and tighten the cap immediately.
  11. Wipe off any excess ointment from your eyelids and lashes with a clean tissue. Wash your hands again.

Other uses for this medicine

This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

What special precautions should I follow?

Before using tobramycin eye drops or eye ointment,

  • Tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to Tobramycin Ophthalmic, other antibiotics, or other medications.
  • 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 breastfeeding. If you become pregnant while using tobramycin eye drops or eye ointment, call your doctor immediately.
  • You should know that your vision may be blurred during your treatment with Tobramycin ophthalmic ointment. Avoid rubbing your eyes even if your vision is blurry. Do not drive a car or operate machinery if you cannot see clearly.
  • Tell your doctor if you wear soft contact lenses. You should not wear contact lenses if you have an eye infection.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

Instill or apply the missed dose as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not instill or double dose to make up for a missed one.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Tobramycin eye drops or ointment may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

  • eye tearing
  • itching, stinging, or burning of the eye
  • swelling of the eye
  • temporary blurred vision (from the ointment)

What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?

Keep this medicine in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of the reach of children. Store at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom).

Unnecessary medications must be disposed of in special ways to ensure they cannot be consumed by pets, children, and others. However, you should not flush this medicine down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medications is through a drug take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage / recycling department to find out about take-back programs in your community. Check out the FDA drug safe disposal website ( for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.

It is important to keep all medicines out of the sight and reach of children, since many containers (such as those containing weekly pills and those for eye drops, creams, patches and inhalers) are not child-resistant and small children can easily open them. To protect young children from poisoning, always close the safety caps and immediately place the medicine in a safe place, one that is upright and out of their sight and reach.

What other information should I know?

Keep all your appointments with your doctor.

Don’t let anyone use your medicine. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.

If you still have symptoms of infection after you finish the tobramycin eye drops or ointment, call your doctor.

It is important that you keep a written list of all prescription and over-the-counter (over-the-counter) medications you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should take this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you go into hospital. It is also important information to take with you in case of emergencies.

Brand Names

  • AK-Tob®
  • Tobrex®

Brand names of combination products

  • TobraDex® (containing Dexamethasone, Tobramycin)
  • Tobraflex® (containing Fluorometholone, Tobramycin)
  • Tobrasone® (containing Fluorometholone, Tobramycin)
  • Zylet® (containing Loteprednol, Tobramycin)

Disclaimer: We have made every effort to ensure that all information is factually accurate, comprehensive and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a licensed health care professional’s choice of knowledge and expertise. You should always consult your doctor or other health care professional before taking any medication. The information given here is subject to change and it has not been used to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions or adverse effects. The lack of warning or other information for any drug does not indicate that the combination of medicine or medication is safe, effective or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.

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