Povidone-Iodine 3-Minute Exposure Time is Viable in Preparation for Cataract Surgery

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Povidone-iodine (PI) is widely used to reduce the preoperative conjunctival bacterial load. This study aimed to evaluate the employment of PI 10% in an attempt to sterilize the ocular surface prior to cataract surgery, and to show that PI could be left in contact for 3 minutes. The viability of this exposure time in clinical practice, associated adverse events, and visual outcomes were documented.


In this prospective cohort study, phacoemulsification cataract surgery was performed in 604 patients by a single surgeon. Preoperative preparation was undertaken with PI 10%, applied to the cornea, conjunctival sac, eyelids, and periorbital skin with sterile cotton gauze. Povidone-iodine was then flushed onto the ocular surface. Operating room staff timed the precise duration of exposure. After the 3-minute preparation, the lids were thoroughly dried with fresh dry gauze.


The median PI exposure time was 3.17 minutes, with an interquartile range of 0.25. All cases were followed up postoperatively at 1 day, 1 week, and 1 month. There were no complications attributable to PI. Visual outcomes were satisfactory.


Implementation of a preoperative prophylaxis protocol that used PI 10% with a 3-minute exposure time can be performed in clinical practice. The 3-minute exposure time had no adverse sequelae.

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