Unit dose erythromycin ophthalmic ointment for neonatal ocular prophylaxis

JOGN Nurs. Mar-Apr 1984;13(2):83-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1552-6909.1984.tb01115.x.


Silver nitrate solution has been used since the 1880s for newborn prophylaxis against Neisseria gonorrhoeae ocular infections. Recommendations by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control state that erythromycin and tetracycline ophthalmic products may serve as alternatives to silver nitrate solution. The selection of erythromycin ophthalmic ointment offers the advantage of antimicrobial activity against Chlamydia trachomatis and is not associated with the chemical conjunctivitis often seen with silver nitrate solutions. The only commercially available form of erythromycin ophthalmic ointment is a 3.5-gm tube. Repackaging the ointment into tuberculin syringes reduces the cost to the patient and provides the nurse with a more convenient method of administering the ointment to the neonate.

MeSH terms

  • Drug Packaging
  • Erythromycin / administration & dosage*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Inservice Training
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / education
  • Ointments
  • Ophthalmia Neonatorum / prevention & control*
  • Silver Nitrate / adverse effects
  • Trachoma / prevention & control*


  • Ointments
  • Erythromycin
  • Silver Nitrate