Should We Prescribe Vigamox Eye Drops for Pink Eye?

May 6, 2009

I see many patients who are referred to me by pediatricians and ER docs, and it seems they all are taking some fourth generation fluoroquinolone like Vigamox eye drops for bacterial conjunctivitis (or pink eye). What’s up with that? Is it just plain laziness to prescribe the same thing over and over? Or is it the result of drug rep pressure? I reserve these superdrugs to contact lens wearers. Otherwise, my patients with conjunctivitis get sulfa or gentamicin or some other cheap, old medicine. I wish doctors would take a moment before reflexively prescribing Vigamox and other very powerful drugs for what is a benign, self-limited disease.




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156 Responses to “Should We Prescribe Vigamox Eye Drops for Pink Eye?”

  • Paola

    I had pink eye 3 weeks ago from my contact lenses and got prescribed vigamox for my left eye only. I took the drops for 7 days and now two weeks later my left eyelid is still droopy. Why is this? Should I go see an eye doctor?

  • Carrie

    Not sure if this thread is still active, but if so can you shed light on whether or not breast milk can alleviate some of the symptoms of viral conjunctivitis? I’ve been told that the milk is a probiotic and beneficial for healing pink eye.

    Thank you!

  • Mach

    Thanks for all the helpful info Dr 🙂 I have read all the posts and no one brought up a loose stool. My 3year old has had several styes (breakouts) in both eyes almost back to back. Treated with warm compress they eventually bursted and drained eyes got back to normal. Now he has pink eye, I’ve been treating him with Vigamox since Sat and his eye is getting better. Still a bit crusty in the am but NOT as red. However he has a runny stool… My question is, do I continuer Vigamox till day 7?

  • Vanessa

    Hi doc. I’ve had heavy eye discharge last fri. Sat I couldn’t make it to the eye doc and sun they were closed. I went in Monday and she prescribed polytrim. I’ve been on it 3 days and my condition doesn’t seem to be getting any better. During the day I’m okay besides the extremly red eyes but at night I start to discharge again and I wake up 3 times in the middle of the night to clean off the crust and my eyes are extremly red and inflammed, discharge is white. Todat is now Thurs, I was in the worst pain last night but this morn I’m okay besides red eyes. What do you suggest?

  • Amanda

    Dr.Ari Weitzner my 19 month old son has a really bad ear infection and my ped gave him amoxicillin. My sons ear infection is so bad it’s pushing green stuff out his eye and making his eye mat up when he sleeps. Can I use vigamox in his eye to help clear it up? Please other moms don’t judge me?

  • Rochelle

    My daughter was prescribed moxeza gtts for bilateral conjunctivitis. Her symptoms were painful eyes with large amounts of dark green drainage from both eyes.I tried to wait to see if her symptoms would improve but when it spread from the left to the right eye within 12 hrs and the drainage got worse I decided to take her to the doctor. The drops that were called in I thought were overkill but this was a specialized pediatrician so I felt he was making the right decision. her symptoms began to improve within 24 hours and almost completely gone by 48 hours however on day 3 after starting the drops her entire body broke out in hives. She has never had hives before in her life. I took her to the pediatrician I said she did not think that it was from the eye drops but to go ahead and stop giving them. being the research freak that I am I found that the steady state in the body With these eye drops does not occur until day 3 the same time she developed the hives. I contacted our pharmacist to discuss the reaction she informed me that the hives would not go away until day 5 possibly day 6 if the eye drops were the cause. In the meantime I mentioned what was happening with her family and come to find out my mother was hospitalized from a severe reaction to avelox which is also a fluoroquinolone and also my brother in law was hospitalized with severe hives on his body. so if anyone out there has the same reaction please make sure and report it these drugs do not need to be prescribed to our children for something that will eventually heal on its own.

  • I took my 7 yr old son to the emergency room late last night. He was diagnosed with Conjunctivitis. They gave me a prescription for Trimethoprim-polymyxin b (polytrim). I am currently unemployed and do not have the money for the prescription. However, I do have a bottle of polytrim in my medicine cabinet that has an expiration date of 09/13. Are they still effective?

  • ari

    no- vigamox cant hurt the eye. you can chill! if he’s still blinking after a week or so, go to the ophthalmologist

  • Pris

    My 6 year old was prescribed with Vigamox for 7 days 3 times a day for pink eye. After a week, it returned and his pediatrician said to take it for 7 more days. On the fifth day of the second week he took it, we had been at the beach and when I put the drop it, it burned his eye, so I didn’t give it to him anymore. The pediatrician saw his eye and said he had a small corneal abrasion and referred him to an eye doctor, but he didn’t see anything in his eye and prescribed Genteal drops four times a day. My concern is that now, he’s always blinking and sometimes feels something in his eye. Could damage have been done because of taking the Vigamox for so long?
    Thank you.

  • ari

    sounds like typical contagious viral conjunctivitis. it will go away by itself, regardless of drops.

  • Misty

    I have appreciated reading all the info here. I am having my own rather bizarre story with conjuctivitis. I have 3 children ages 6,4,and 15 mo. The two older awoke with pinkeye in the right eye on morning 1. I treated with breastmilk (2 drops per eye every two hours) but as the condition only seemed to worsen on day 5 I took them to the clinic and got a perscription of polymxin B sulfate and Trimethoprin. The condition improved in 36 hours and I gave it fro the prescribed 7 days. On day 7 (4 days of meds) the baby awoke with pink eye. I started him on the drops. By the time he was on day 4 of the drops my 6 year old (now prescription free for 3 days) contracted pink eye again. I simply put him back on the antibiotic. Then I contracted pink eye. So we were all on antibiotic at the same time for a few days. I cleaned EVERYTHING or so it seems. I had 2 days left of antibiotic for me to have 7 days. This morning baby awoke with pink eye again.

    And so now I think I need to return to the doctor (or clinic as we are between doctors having moved). But I’m not even sure who all to take in at this point. We’ve also apparently given it to our little neighbor girl (just today she has red eyes too) although we stayed away from them until we were all clear and on antibiotic 48 hours.

    Thoughts? Suggestions? What should I expect?

    Thank you so much. I’ve not heard of such a stubborn experience.

  • ari

    most antibiotics should be taken 7 days. vigamox cant possibly hurt your eyes. the shorter the course of antibiotics, the higher the risk of causing resistant bacteria to flourish.

  • KT

    I just took another dose. So my question is – is 5 days enough on Vigamox? The drops are starting to make my eyes irritated and I took them 5 days (today is my last day on them but I only took two doses instead of three). Would this be enough to kill the bacteria?

    The Doctor said take for 5 days (he also said 3 on the drops would also be ok) – when I spoke to the pharmacist she said the doctor did not indicate on the prescription how many days and she said 5 days is usually enough. I took them for 5 even though the pamphlet says 7.

    I would like to stop taking the antiobiotics but am confused about how many days and also scared that if I don’t take the right amount that the bacteria will come back and I will have to start all over again.

  • KT

    My 5 year old daughter had pink eye. She would wake up in the morning with a crusty yellow eye and I would have to give her a bath to get it off her eye. This went on for a few days. I waited to see if it would go away by itself. Then I took her to the doctor and she was prescribed Vigamox. She took it twice a day for 7 days (it was supposed to be 3x a day but hard to give eye drops – she hates them.)

    A couple of days later I got pink eye. I tried to leave it but finally went to the doctors and they gave me Vigamox (3x a day) – the doctor said I could take it for 5 days or even just 3 days (which I never heard of. My daughter had it prescribed for 7 days). Today is day 5 and I took it this morning. When I take it my eyes burn in the front corners. I think this is because when I put the drops in my eyes I gently press in the corner so they don’t go down my sinuses.

    Is 5 days enough (or actually 4 days of taking it 3x per day and 1 day of taking it once). I am scared if I take more it will burn or hurt my eyes.

    I feel like the infection is gone. My left eye feels normal when I wake up but when i add the drops it kinda itches/irritates it. My right eye when I wake up has a slightly irritated feel. Very minor but when i add the drops it irritates it more.

    Are Vigamox drops dangerous at all – is there anything I need to watch out for? My eyes look fine but the inner corners look a little red (not the eyeball part but the pink pearly part in the eye).

  • ari

    good summary!
    also–even bacterial conj will go away without treatment. its a self-limited disease. rarely, in kids, the infection will spread to the deep lids and even deeper and cause a cellulitis. so if it looks like its getting worse in kids, and the lids are getting progressively red and swollen, take to the doctor.

  • EBlue

    Hi Dr. Weitzner,

    I appreciate your availability to answer so many questions from concerned parents. I wanted to clarify. I read almost every question and response on here. So I gather that if the patient has viral conjunctivitis (pink eye caused by a virus) then no antibiotic is necessary. One should let it run its course, but take measure to not spread because it is contagious. Then if it is bacterial conjunctivitis (pink eye caused by bacteria), one should absolutely see a physician to obtain antibiotic eye drops. The difference between the two would be viral pink eye would look slightly pink with some irritation and maybe some crusty eyelashes and then for bacterial pink eye would look like pink to red eyes with yellow, green discharge and more extreme crusting over eyes. This one is still contagious, but not as much as the viral pink eye.
    Sometimes its so difficult as a parent when so many doctors have different opinions. My family is so important to me and I do not want to have any of us to go through any unnecessary treatment. All medications have side effects.
    Thank you in advance for clarifying!