Surface infections of the eye eg conjunctivitis and keratitis usually resolve within a week when treated with antibiotic drops or ointment. Infections of the lids, eg styes, blepharitis and chalazea, may benefit from an antibiotic ointment. Topical antibiotics are also useful as a prophylactic measure after minor surface trauma to prevent opportunistic eye infections, particularly with pseudomonas.
Eye infections caused by Chlamydia trachomatis or Neisseria gonorrhoeae require systemic treatment to eradicate the reservoir of these organisms in the genito-urinary tract.
The antiviral agent aciclovir is effective when applied topically in herpes simplex infection of the skin around the eye and in herpes simplex conjunctivitis, but it must be applied as soon as possible. It may also be used for herpes simplex keratitis while awaiting hospital referral. The oral or iv routes are preferable for herpes zoster ophthalmicus.