11.2 Control of microbial contamination

Eye drops in multiple-application containers for domiciliary use should not be used for more than 4 weeks after first opening, unless a shorter period is stated.

If both eyes are infected and require treatment with an antimicrobial it is not necessary to supply two bottles to avoid cross-contamination, as it is usually the same infection. However, if a patient is using regular eye treatment, e.g. for glaucoma, and has an infection in one eye it would be appropriate to supply 2 bottles of regular eye treatment (one for each eye) to avoid cross-contamination. Can only be dispensed as such if prescription states “for left and right eye" and must be endorsed “2 bottles dispensed to avoid cross-contamination".

Eye drops for use in hospital wards are normally discarded 1 week after first opening. Individual containers should be provided for each patient. Containers used before an operation should be discarded at the time of the operation and fresh containers supplied. A fresh supply should also be provided on discharge; in specialist ophthalmology units, it may be acceptable to issue eye drop containers that have been dispensed on the day of discharge.

In outpatient departments and in eye surgery single-application packs should be preferably used


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