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Ciprofloxacin ophthalmic Side Effects

In Summary

Commonly reported side effects of ciprofloxacin ophthalmic include: corneal deposits. Other side effects include: eye discomfort. See below for a comprehensive list of adverse effects.

For the Consumer

Applies to ciprofloxacin ophthalmic: ophthalmic ointment, ophthalmic solution

In addition to its needed effects, some unwanted effects may be caused by ciprofloxacin ophthalmic. In the event that any of these side effects do occur, they may require medical attention.

Major Side Effects

You should check with your doctor immediately if any of these side effects occur when taking ciprofloxacin ophthalmic:

  • Blurred vision or other change in vision
  • eye pain
  • irritation (severe) or redness of the eye
  • nausea
  • skin rash, hives, or itching

Minor Side Effects

Some of the side effects that can occur with ciprofloxacin ophthalmic may not need medical attention. As your body adjusts to the medicine during treatment these side effects may go away. Your health care professional may also be able to tell you about ways to reduce or prevent some of these side effects. If any of the following side effects continue, are bothersome or if you have any questions about them, check with your health care professional:

More common:
  • Burning or other discomfort of the eye
  • crusting or crystals in corner of the eye
Less common:
  • Bad taste following use in the eye
  • feeling of something in the eye
  • itching of the eye
  • redness of the lining of the eyelids
  • Difficulty seeing at night
  • dryness of the eye
  • increased sensitivity of the eyes to light
  • swelling of the eyelid
  • tearing of the eye

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to ciprofloxacin ophthalmic: ophthalmic ointment, ophthalmic solution


The most common side effects were ocular discomfort, local burning/discomfort, dysgeusia, corneal deposits, and white crystalline precipitates.[Ref]


White topical ocular precipitates have been observed in patients with corneal ulcer and frequent dosing of this drug which resolved after continued application of this drug. Precipitate did not preclude continued use of this drug and did not adversely affect the clinical course of recovery. Onset was within 1 to 7 days after starting therapy and resolution varied from immediately to 13 days after starting therapy.[Ref]

Very common (10% or more): White crystalline precipitates (medication residue; up to 17%)
Common (1% to 10%): Corneal deposits, ocular discomfort, ocular hyperemia/erythema/redness, local burning/discomfort, eyelid margin crusting, crystals/scales, foreign body sensation, itching, conjunctival hyperemia, keratopathy
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Punctate keratitis, eyelid edema, lacrimation increased/tearing, photophobia, corneal infiltrates, decreased visual acuity/decreased vision, blurred vision, dry eye, eye pain, eye swelling, eye pruritus, eye discharge, eyelid exfoliation, conjunctival edema, erythema of eyelid/lid margin hyperemia, corneal staining, chemosis, eye inflammation, corneal toxicity, allergy, intolerance, heavy sensation, conjunctival reaction, eye hypoesthesia/numbing sensation, conjunctivitis, punctate epithelial erosion, progression of infiltrate
Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Ocular toxicity, keratitis/keratoconjunctivitis, corneal disorder, corneal epithelium defect, diplopia, asthenopia, eye irritation, hordeolum
Frequency not reported: Epitheliopathy[Ref]

Nervous system

Common (1% to 10%): Dysgeusia/bad taste after instillation
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Headache
Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Dizziness/lightheadedness[Ref]


Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Nausea
Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Diarrhea, abdominal pain[Ref]


Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Paranasal sinus hypersecretion/sinus drainage
Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Rhinitis


Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Hypersensitivity/allergic reactions

Systemic quinolones:
-Frequency not reported: Hypersensitivity (anaphylactic) reactions[Ref]

Serious and occasionally fatal hypersensitivity (anaphylactic) reactions (some after first dose) have been reported with systemic quinolones.[Ref]


Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Dermatitis

Systemic ciprofloxacin:
-Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Phototoxicity

Locally-applied fluoroquinolones:
-Very rare (less than 0.01%): Generalized rash, toxic epidermolysis, exfoliative dermatitis, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, urticaria[Ref]

Moderate to severe phototoxicity has been reported in some patients exposed to direct sunlight while using oral ciprofloxacin.[Ref]


Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Ear pain, drug intolerance, abnormal laboratory test


Ruptures of the shoulder, hand, Achilles, or other tendons (requiring surgical repair or resulting in prolonged disability) have been reported with systemic fluoroquinolones. Risk of such ruptures may be increased in patients using concomitant corticosteroids, especially geriatric patients and in tendons under high stress (including the Achilles tendon).

Postmarketing reports: Tendon disorder

Systemic fluoroquinolones:
-Frequency not reported: Tendon ruptures


Frequency not reported: Acute psychosis (visual and auditory hallucinations, irrational speech, behavioral disturbances)[Ref]

At least 1 case of acute psychosis (visual and auditory hallucinations, irrational speech, and behavioral disturbances) has been reported after ocular administration. The symptoms resolved upon discontinuation.[Ref]


1. Cerner Multum, Inc. "UK Summary of Product Characteristics." O 0

2. Cerner Multum, Inc. "Australian Product Information." O 0

3. "Product Information. Ciloxan (ciprofloxacin ophthalmic)." Alcon Laboratories Inc, Fort Worth, TX.

4. Wilhelmus KR, Abshire RL "Corneal ciprofloxacin precipitation during bacterial keratitis." Am J Ophthalmol 136 (2003): 1032-7

5. Tripathi A, Chen SI, O'Sullivan S "Clinicopathologic reports, case reports, and small case series: acute psychosis following the use of topical ciprofloxacin." Arch Ophthalmol 120 (2002): 669-70

Not all side effects for ciprofloxacin ophthalmic may be reported. You should always consult a doctor or healthcare professional for medical advice. Side effects can be reported to the FDA here.

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