Skip to main content

Chloramphenicol (Ophthalmic)

Generic name: Chloramphenicol (ophthalmic)
Drug class: Ophthalmic anti-infectives

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Mar 11, 2022.

Uses of Chloramphenicol:

  • It is used to treat eye infections.

What do I need to tell my doctor BEFORE I take Chloramphenicol?

For all patients taking chloramphenicol (ophthalmic):

  • If you are allergic to chloramphenicol (ophthalmic); any part of chloramphenicol (ophthalmic); or any other drugs, foods, or substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had.
  • If you or a family member have ever had any of these health problems: Blood or bone marrow problems like aplastic anemia.
  • If chloramphenicol (ophthalmic) has caused anemia, low platelet count, or low white blood cell count before.
  • If you are taking any drugs that can stop your bone marrow from making some of the cells that your body needs. There are many drugs that can do this. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure.
  • If you are pregnant.
  • If you are breast-feeding or plan to breast-feed.


  • If your child is a newborn. Some brands of chloramphenicol (ophthalmic) are not for use in newborns.

This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with chloramphenicol (ophthalmic).

Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take chloramphenicol (ophthalmic) with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.

What are some things I need to know or do while I take Chloramphenicol?

  • Tell all of your health care providers that you take chloramphenicol (ophthalmic). This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
  • Use care when driving or doing other tasks that call for clear eyesight.
  • Do not use longer than you have been told. A second infection may happen.
  • Have your blood work checked if you are on chloramphenicol (ophthalmic) for a long time. Talk with your doctor.

How is this medicine (Chloramphenicol) best taken?

Use chloramphenicol (ophthalmic) as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.

All products:

  • For the eye only.
  • Wash your hands before and after use.
  • Do not touch the container tip to the eye, lid, or other skin.
  • Put the cap back on after you are done using your dose.
  • Take out contact lenses before using chloramphenicol (ophthalmic). Talk with your doctor to see when lenses may be put back in after chloramphenicol (ophthalmic) is given. Do not put contacts back in if your eyes are irritated or infected.

Eye drops:

  • Tilt your head back and drop drug into the eye.
  • After use, close the eye for 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Blot extra solution from the eyelid.

Eye ointment:

  • Place drug inside the lower lid. Close the eye for 1 to 2 minutes. Roll eyeball around.

What do I do if I miss a dose?

  • Use a missed dose as soon as you think about it.
  • If it is close to the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your normal time.
  • Do not use 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.

What are some side effects that I need to call my doctor about right away?

WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:

  • Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • Change in eyesight, eye pain, or very bad eye irritation.
  • If bright lights bother your eyes.
  • Feeling that something is in the eye.
  • Eye redness or swelling along with a rash on the face or scalp.
  • If the eye looks cloudy or if the pupil does not look normal.
  • Rarely, bone marrow and blood problems have happened with chloramphenicol (ophthalmic). This includes a severe health problem called aplastic anemia. Sometimes, this has been deadly. Call your doctor right away if you have any signs of infection like fever, chills, or sore throat; any unexplained bruising or bleeding; purple "splotches" on your skin; or feeling very tired or weak.

What are some other side effects of Chloramphenicol?

All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:

  • Stinging.
  • Burning.
  • Eye irritation.

These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.

You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-332-1088. You may also report side effects at

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.

How do I store and/or throw out Chloramphenicol?

Eye drops:

  • Store in a refrigerator. Do not freeze.
  • Store upright with the cap on.

Eye ointment:

  • Store at room temperature.

All products:

  • Protect from light.
  • After opening, be sure you know how long the product is good for and how to store it. Ask the doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure.
  • Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Throw away unused or expired drugs. Do not flush down a toilet or pour down a drain unless you are told to do so. Check with your pharmacist if you have questions about the best way to throw out drugs. There may be drug take-back programs in your area.

Consumer information use

  • If your symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your doctor.
  • Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else's drugs.
  • Some drugs may have another patient information leaflet. Check with your pharmacist. If you have any questions about chloramphenicol (ophthalmic), please talk with your doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.

More about chloramphenicol ophthalmic

Patient resources

Other brands
AK-Chlor, Chloroptic, Ocu-Chlor

Related treatment guides

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.