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Our aim was to examine current cataract surgery practice and the methods of chemoprophylaxis used in Australia and New Zealand, and to determine if these factors were related to self-reported incidence rates of postoperative endophthalmitis.All Fellows and trainees of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists were surveyed about their cataract surgery practices and methods of chemoprophylaxis for the prevention of postoperative endophthalmitis. Associations between self-reported incidence rates of endophthalmitis and clinical practice were examined using multivariate Poisson regression modelling.There were 731 respondents (81.6% of 896 surveyed) to the survey. Respondents reported a total of 162 120 cataract operations and 92 cases of endophthalmitis in 2003, a cumulative incidence of 0.057%. The self-reported incidence of endophthalmitis varied from 0.034% in Victoria to 0.56% in the Northern Territory. Topical antibiotics were used preoperatively by 46.7% compared with 97.4% postoperatively; while only 44.1% used subconjunctival antibiotics. The routine use of subconjunctival antibiotic halved the self-reported incidence of postoperative endophthalmitis (incidence rate ratio 0.53, 95% confidence interval 0.30–0.92).Subconjunctival antibiotics may be beneficial in the prevention of endophthalmitis after cataract surgery.