Chloramphenicol is rarely used as a systemic drug nowadays, but it has been useful for many years in the form of eye drops. It remains a drug of choice in the UK for superficial eye infections. Other broad-spectrum antibiotics in use include gentamycin, framycetin, tobramycin and neomycin, as well as ciprofloxacin and ofloxacin. When an infection of the eye is suspected, a culture is taken from the conjunctival sac and treatment started with a wide-spectrum antibiotic. Systemic and intravitreal administration might be needed if the infection is intraocular. A number of antiviral drugs are now available, but acyclovir in the form of Zovirax ointment is the most widely used treatment of herpes simplex keratitis. The use of systemic acyclovir and famcyclovir for herpes zoster ophthalmicus has made a great impact on the severity of ocular complications.
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