The Effect of Antibiotics on Eye Health

eye healthAntibiotics are generally regarded as anti-bacterial medications that are expected to prevent further infection and thus improve health.  There are different types of antibiotics that are now available in the market, each specifically administered for a particular infection in the body.  For example, cefalexin is generally administered for upper respiratory tract infections, including that of strep throat.  On the other hand, cotrimoxazole is given for patients diagnosed with urinary tract infection.

A recent medical report published in the journal Ophthalmology reported an alarming observation that the use of a specific antibiotic after an eye procedure such as an injection could result in worse eye health, including blurred vision and vision loss.


According to Dr. Milder and colleagues, the application of fluoroquinolone in the eyes after intravitreal injections increased the chances of having resistant bacterial strains infecting the eyes, which may result in vision loss.  Intravitreal injections pertain to a simple procedure of administering a drug for a specific eye disorder such as diabetic retinopathy, vein occlusion, or macular degeneration.  It should be understood that if intravitreal injecions are not performed on patients with these eye diseases, these individuals might eventually experience blurred vision, vision loss, or generally poor eye health.
Maintaining good eye health is important because this influences the quality of life of an individual.  It would also be harmful to drive a vehicle with blurred vision due to a problem with the retina or simply poor eye health.  For others, blurred vision or vision loss due to deteriorating eye health can cause depression, especially when they are unable to appreciate the beauty of their surroundings.  Certain eye health disorders are related to the genetic makeup of an individual, whereas other cases of vision loss are associated with age.  The elderly are thus often afflicted with vision loss or blurred vision.  Corrective lenses can generally improve blurred vision, yet for macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy, vision loss can be gradual, yet progressive.

Intravitreal injections are often performed in the eye doctor’s office and do not require admission to a major medical facility.  Through the injection of a specific drug into the eye, patients prevent the rapid deterioration of eye health, as well as prevent further vision loss.  It has also been reported that intravitreal injections result in an improvement of blurred vision in patients with macular degeneration.

The recent report published by Dr. Miller’s group examined the frequency of antibiotic resistance in patients that have undergone at least three previous intravitreal injections for macular degeneration.  The study involved 40 patients who were either prescribed with trimethoprim/polymyxin B or fluoroquinolone eye drops to treat the injection site of the treated eye.  The non-injected fellow eye of the same patient was also included in the study as control.

The results of the study showed that the same types of bacteria were found in the treated and control eyes.  Interestingly, the resistant bacterial strains were twice more likely to occur in the eyes that were treated with fluoroquinolone eye drops, as compared to those subjected to trimethoprim/polymyxin B eye drops.

The higher rate of occurrence of resistance bacterial strains in eyes that were treated with fluoroquinolone eye drops after intravitreal injection suggests that the eye health of patients can further deteriorate due to this specific formulation.  The bacteria isolated from the eyes infect the conjunctiva or the white of the eyes and may also influence the severity of blurred vision when the eye drops of repetitively performed after each intravitreal injection.  If resistant bacteria are left untreated, this can also result in severe eye infection and vision loss.

This recent medical report on the use of antibiotics for eye health serves as a warning that even antibacterial formulations can also result in detrimental effects such as blurred vision and vision loss.  The report will also help ophthalmologists in practicing caution when choosing the appropriate antibiotic eye drops to administer after eye procedures to prevent further deterioration of eye health, including blurred vision and vision loss.


Related Reading:

Why Blurry Vision Isn’t Just Annoying – it’s Deadly

Diabetic retinopathy eye disease causes, prevention and treatment

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