Can teardrops kill antibiotics?

Lysozyme in eye tears can kill bacteria - but can it kill antibiotics that get in the eyes?

Specifically, **not **antibiotics meant to be put in the eyes - I’m sure those are customized for the eyes.

Tears can certainly dilute ocular antibiotics, but I’m not aware that it can inactivate them.

(Pharmacist here)

thanks - are non-ocular antibiotics harmful to the eyes (suppose someone mistakes them for an eye solution?)

You might want to tell us in detail what you’re really asking.

I spent half a day at the Emergency Department at our local hospital after a friend (really, it wasn’t me) put contact lens cleaner in her eyes thinking it was her eye-wetting solution. There was no permanent damage, but it was pretty scary for the first couple hours as they worked to get her eyes (yes, both!!) cleaned out.

There are plenty of liquids packaged in dropper form for use on or in your body that don’t get along well with that *very *sensitive part of your body.

Lysozyme is an enzyme that chews up the bacterial cell wall. Specifically, it hydrolyzes a specific molecular bond found in peptidoglycan. Antibiotics are small molecules that do not share any chemical similarity with peptidoglycan. There’s no reason at all to expect any sort of cross-reactivity with lysozyme.

Antibiotics are not alive.

Antibodies are not alive either, but they are produced by white blood cells and most control white blood cells. Some antibodies work like an antibiotic and directly attach the foreign or diseased (eg cancer, or virus infected) cell.

White blood cells are the “live” cells that go after bacteria ,fungi and parasite cells, and Not all White blood cells do that, eg the B cells produce antibodies.
But puss is a collection of white blood cells that are there to eat up any pathogen in the vicinity. They even try to eat up splinters (unsuccessfully, but they just keep on trying until the splinter is either expelled, or calcified.)

They definitely can be, usually because they contain various excipient ingredients that cannot be used in the eyes. That’s why eye drops can be used in the ears, and not vice versa.

This is not an uncommon mistake.

See also: TLC’s Santa Sent Me to the ER special

In general, most things are harmful to the eyes, with the exception of things explicitly formulated to be put in the eyes, and some small number of things that happen to not be very harmful (for example clean rainwater).