Equis ISSN 2398-2977

Eye: drug administration - systemic

Contributor(s): Dennis E Brooks, Graham Munroe


  • Systemic administration of drugs for eye conditions is compromised by the blood-ocular barriers (blood-aqueous and blood-retinal) and removal by active transport systems.
  • These barriers become compromised in inflammatory conditions due to leaking capillary endothelium and many agents, particularly antibiotics, can achieve high intra-ocular levels at certain dose rates.
  • Chloramphenicol and sulfa drugs penetrate these barriers adequately.
  • Intravenous administration is the preferred route, leading to high plasma peak levels and high intra-ocular levels subsequently.
  • Unfortunately, the high systemic doses required to reach adequate intraocular levels may increase the risk of systemic side-effects.
  • Systemic medication is useful:
  • As a pre- and post-operative measure in intra-ocular surgery.
  • For the treatment of:
  • Acute bacterial uveitis   Uveitis: bacterial  .
  • Posterior segment infections.
  • Eyelid and orbital diseases (high vascularity).
  • Deep corneal problems .
  • Nasolacrimal disease.

Further Reading


Refereed papers

Other sources of information

  • Brooks D E (1999) Equine Ophthalmology. In: Veterinary Opthalmology.Ed: Gelatt K N. 3rd edn pp 1053-1116.