Ciloxan eye drops and ointment (Ciprofloxacin)

How does it work?

Ciloxan eye drops and eye ointment contain the active ingredient ciprofloxacin, which is a type of medicine called a quinolone antibiotic. Antibiotics are used to treat infections caused by bacteria.

Ciprofloxacin is effective against a large number of bacteria, some of which tend to be resistant to other commonly used antibiotics.

Ciprofloxacin works by killing the bacteria that are causing an eye infection. It does this by entering the bacterial cells and inhibiting a bacterial enzyme called DNA-gyrase. This enzyme is involved in replicating and repairing the genetic material (DNA) of the bacteria. If this enzyme doesn't work, the bacteria cannot reproduce or repair themselves and this kills the bacteria.

Ciprofloxacin eye drops and eye ointment are administered into the eye to treat various types of bacterial eye infections. Administering them directly into the eye allows the ciprofloxacin to act directly on the bacteria that are causing the infection.

What is it used for?

  • Bacterial infection of the eyelids (blepharitis)
  • Bacterial conjunctivitis
  • Ulcers on the front part of the eye (corneal ulcers)


  • This medicine must not be taken by mouth.
  • You should not wear contact lenses while you are using Ciloxan to treat an eye infection.
  • When using the eye drops or eye ointment you should take care to not touch the tip of the dropper or tube to any surface, or to your eye, in order to avoid contaminating the medicine.
  • Ciloxan drops and ointment may cause your vision to blur temporarily after you have applied them into your eye. Do not drive or operate machinery until this has worn off.
  • If you get a skin rash or any other sign of allergic reaction after using this medicine, you should stop using it and consult your doctor immediately.
  • Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, it is important that you finish the prescribed course of this antibiotic medicine, even if it seems the infection has cleared up. Stopping the course early increases the chance that the infection will come back and that the bacteria will grow resistant to the antibiotic.
  • Do not use Ciloxan for longer than prescribed by your doctor.
  • Seek medical advice immediately if your symptoms get worse at any point during treatment, or if you think you have new infection.
  • Ciloxan eye drops and ointment are sterile until opened. Any remaining medicine should be carefully disposed of four weeks after the first opening, as it is likely to be contaminated. You may find it helpful to write the date of first opening on the packet.

Not to be used in

  • Children under one year of age
  • Known sensitivity or allergy to any ingredient
  • Allergy to other quinolone-type antibiotics

This medicine should not be used if you are allergic to one or any of its ingredients. Please inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have previously experienced such an allergy.If you feel you have experienced an allergic reaction, stop using this medicine and inform your doctor or pharmacist immediately.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Certain medicines should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding. However, other medicines may be safely used in pregnancy or breastfeeding providing the benefits to the mother outweigh the risks to the unborn baby. Always inform your doctor if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, before using any medicine.

  • The safety of this medicine during pregnancy has not been established. As with all medicines it should not be used during pregnancy unless considered essential by your doctor, and only if the potential benefits outweigh any possible risk to the foetus. Seek medical advice from your doctor.
  • It is not known if ciprofloxacin passes into breast milk after being used in the eye. When taken by mouth ciprofloxacin does pass into breast milk. This medicine should therefore be used with caution during breastfeeding and only if the potential benefits outweigh any possible risk to the nursing infant. Seek medical advice from your doctor. If the drops are used during breastfeeding you can minimise the amount of medicine that is absorbed into your bloodstream by pressing on your tear duct (the corner of the eye closest to the nose) while putting in the drops, and for a few minutes after.

Side effects

Medicines and their possible side effects can affect individual people in different ways. The following are some of the side effects that are known to be associated with this medicine. Because a side effect is stated here, it does not mean that all people using this medicine will experience that or any side effect.

  • Eye stinging or burning on application
  • Red eye due to increased blood supply to the eye (hyperaemia)
  • Eye itching
  • Eye pain
  • Formation of crust on the margin of eyelid
  • Swelling of the eyelid
  • Dislike of light (photophobia)
  • Metallic taste
  • Skin inflammation (dermatitis)
  • Nausea
  • Inflammation of the surface of the eye (keratitis)
  • Overgrowth of tissue and colour change in the eye (corneal infiltrates and staining)

The side effects listed above may not include all of the side effects reported by the drug's manufacturer.For more information about any other possible risks associated with this medicine, please read the information provided with the medicine or consult your doctor or pharmacist.

How can this medicine affect other medicines?

If you are using more than one type of eye drop you should administer them at least five minutes apart, to prevent the second drop washing away the first. Use eye gels or ointments last.

Ciprofloxacin eye drops and ointment are unlikely to be absorbed into the bloodstream in sufficient quantities to affect medicines that are being taken by mouth. However, you should tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are using any other medicines, including those bought without a prescription and herbal medicines, before you start treatment with this medicine, so they can check that the combination is safe.

Other medicines containing the same active ingredient

There are no other eye preparations available in the UK that contain ciprofloxacin as the active ingredient.

Ciproxin tablets and suspension and generic ciprofloxacin tablets are available. These oral forms of ciprofloxacin may sometimes be used for more severe eye infections.