Prophylaxis against infection in cataract surgery: A survey of routine practice

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To survey the routine practice of consultant ophthalmic surgeons in the United Kingdom in preventing postoperative endophthalmitis following cataract surgery.


This is a cross-sectional questionnaire-based study. A questionnaire was sent to consultant ophthalmic surgeons in university teaching hospital ophthalmology departments in the United Kingdom.


Questionnaires were sent to 391 consultant ophthalmic surgeons in 36 ophthalmology departments. The response rate was 55.0% (215 responses). Eleven (5.1%) did not perform cataract surgery routinely. Of the remaining 204 respondents, all performed phacoemulsification as routine. A total of 28 (13.7%) reported a 0% rate of postoperative infective endophthalmitis. Preoperative topical antibiotics were routinely prescribed by 12 respondents (5.9%). The most common immediately preoperative measure was the usage of povidone iodine (203 respondents, 99.5%). A total of 19 (9.3%) used an antibiotic infusion during surgery. Postoperative subconjunctival antibiotics were given by 138 (67.6%), most commonly cefuroxime. A total of 33 (16.2%) administered postoperative intracameral antibiotics. A total of 141 (69.1%) prescribed topical antibiotics after surgery, most commonly neomycin. None gave systemic antibiotics routinely pre-or postoperatively.


The results show a wide variation of prophylactic measures used in the United Kingdom. The routine practices adopted reflect personal preferences, and were not necessarily evidence-based. Further prospective studies are required to provide evidence for the efficacy of these prophylaxis techniques. (Eur J Ophthalmol 2006; 16: 394-400)

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