The use of povidone–iodine in ophthalmology

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Purpose of review

Povidone–iodine (PVI) is a disinfectant and antiseptic agent used for preoperative preparation of the skin and mucous membranes, as well as for the treatment of contaminated wounds. Currently regimens for prophylaxis against postsurgical endophthalmitis are being modified, including a total withdrawal of antibiotics in intravitreal injections. The aim of this study was to evaluate the use of PVI in ophthalmology.

Recent findings

As a result of its broad spectrum of microbicidal activity, PVI is routinely used in ophthalmic surgery. However, various protocols are applied worldwide and within different procedures. Additional indications include prophylaxis against ophthalmia neonatorum, acute conjunctivitis, adenoviral conjunctivitis, bacterial keratitis or corneal ulcer, endophthalmitis, giant fornix syndrome, and antimicrobial prophylaxis in patients with Boston type I keratoprosthesis.


Despite the introduction of new antiseptics in surgery, PVI is still the preeminent antiseptic measure in ophthalmology. Its use is economically reasonable. There have been no reports of resistance to PVI or anaphylaxis with topical ophthalmic use. Furthermore, it does not induce resistance or cross-grztance to antibiotics. With these advantages the range of indications for topical use of antibiotics might decrease, with PVI as the sole perioperative antiseptic measure. Additional studies are required to assess the optimal timing, concentration and exposure time within different ophthalmic procedures.

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