Can i get antibiotic eye drops over the counter?

Are you experiencing itchy and red eyes? Do you suspect an infection and want to know if you can get antibiotic eye drops over the counter? Well, let’s dive into this topic and find out what your options are.

Understanding Eye Infections

Before we go any further, let’s define what eye infections are. They occur when harmful microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses or fungi invade your eye tissues. Common symptoms of eye infections include:

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Discharge
  • Blurry vision
  • Pain or discomfort in the eye(s)
  • Sensitivity to light

If left untreated, some infections like bacterial conjunctivitis can cause permanent damage to your eyesight.

Different Types of Antibiotic Eye Drops

Eye drops that contain antibiotics fall under two categories: Prescription-only and over-the-counter (OTC) medications.

Prescription-only Antibiotic Eye Drops (Pssst! This means only with a doctor’s prescription)

Prescription-only antibiotic eye drops contain extracts of potent antibiotics that can cure various types of severe bacterial ocular infections. Here is a table that lists some prescription-only antibiotic eyedrops by their generic names:

Generic Name Brand Names
Gatifloxacin Zymaxid
Moxifloxacin Moxeza
Moxifloxacin +Dexamethasone Vigamox
Besifloxacin Besivance

Most health professionals prescribe these products after diagnosing severe bacterial ocular conditions such as chronic conjunctivitis or cornea ulcers.

Over-the-counter(OTC) Antibiotics for Eyes(These are generally milder than prescription medicines)

Over-the-counter medication refers to drugs available without a valid prescription. There are various OTC products that can help manage mild eye infections. These include:

  • Polymyxin B Sulfate Trimethoprim (Polytrim)- This works by killing bacteria in your eyes and also reduces inflammation.

  • Erythromycin ophthalmic ointment: This antibiotic covers a wide range of bacterial ocular infections, including children’s neonatal conjunctivitis.

Factors to Consider While Using Antibiotic Eye Drops

Whether you are using prescription-only or over-the-counter antibiotics for your eyes, there are certain factors you should consider:


You must follow the exact dosage recommended by your doctor or as instructed on the packaging of an OTC medication. Excessive use of antibiotics can lead to adverse effects such as vision damages and increased drug resistance.


If you have had an allergic reaction when taking other medications before or developed sensitivity after using antibiotics in the past, always mention it to your prescriber before starting new prescriptions.

Safety Concerns

Contact lenses wearers should never use any drops if they aren’t specifically approved for contacts.
Even though some eye drops seem safe at first glance, few safety concerns exist around combining them with current medication intake: do not take medicines without telling your doctor about all applications currently underway.

Can You Get Antibacterial Eye Drops Without A Prescription?

Most countries require individuals to have valid prescriptions from health professionals before purchasing prescription-only antibacterial drugs like Vigamox or Zymaxid. However Individuals may purchase some over-the-counter treatments safely and effectively alleviate mild symptoms of bacterial ocular infection indicating erythromycin ophthalmic ointment which is used worldwide without requiring a physician’s prescription; others resort to online shopping sites that sell so-called ‘eye-safe’ imported drugs transmitted straightly addressable from overseas distributors .

Although convenient buying options abound it seems worthwhile dealing with a trained optometrist or qualified general practitioner by booking an appointment to assess one’s need for medication.

Are There Home Remedies for Eye Infections?

If you are looking for more natural alternatives and home remedies for common mild bacterial conjunctivitis symptoms, here are some of the most effective:

Cold compress

It helps reduce swelling inflammation and soreness around the eyes. You can make a cold compress easily by wrapping ice cubes in a towel or soaking it into cold water infused with your favourite essential oils such as lavender, chamomile or rosemary.

Tea bags

Tea possesses powerful antimicrobial properties that can help combat bacteria infections on your eyelids. Brew a bag of green tea at boiling point temperature let cool somewhat then use it gently over the affected area.

Aloe vera (This detoxifying plant is widely used to moisturize the skin)

The same medicinal attributes also apply when it comes to healing bacterial infection ocular side effects; follow instructions carefully when applying homemade topical creams made from fresh cuttings so that no further irritation may occur.

Wrap up

Bacterial ocular infections— although uncomfortable—are generally treatable with antibiotic drops and naturally-occurring episodes oftentimes go away without any medical intervention. Total hygiene compliance like washing hands regularly before touching your face especially around your eyes is highly recommended in addition to frequent retina-screening sessions from certified optometrists strengthens healthy eye hygeine habits.

In general, if caution is applied antibiotics will clear bacterial infestations within days but don’t forget, reminding oneself \& taking measures: healthy meals rich with vitamins promote cell rejuvenation & build immunity!

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