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    Intracameral antibiotics lower risk of infection in cataract surgery

    Simple steps and choices that can prevent postoperative endophthalmitis

    Listen to Christina R. Prescott, MD, PhD, discuss the role of intracameral antibiotics to lower the risk of postoperative endophthalmitis after cataract surgery during the annual Current Concepts in Ophthalmology meeting at the Wilmer Eye Institute/Johns Hopkins University.

    Take home: Understanding why ophthalmologists should be using intracameral antibiotics to lower the risk of postoperative endophthalmitis after cataract surgery.

    By Liz Meszaros; Reviewed by Christina R. Prescott, MD, PhD

    Baltimore, MD—Postoperative endophthalmitis after cataract surgery is rare, but ophthalmologists can still take steps to alleviate its risk even further, according to Christina R. Prescott, MD, PhD.

    “As (physicians) all know, cataract surgery is a remarkably successful surgery,” said Dr. Prescott, assistant professor of ophthalmology, Wilmer Eye Institute, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Baltimore, MD. “The complication risk is so incredibly low that we often focus primarily on discussions of refractive outcomes. We get so caught up in trying to meet our patients’ refractive goals that we can forget that cataract surgery is still a surgery and every surgery does have some risks, however low.”

    Endophthalmitis can occur months and even years after surgery, but Dr. Prescott said postoperative endophthalmitis could occur 1 to 2 weeks after surgery. The rates of postoperative endophthalmitis are low (less than 1% in the United States), though the exact incidence of these infections is unknown, she noted.

    “Approximately 3 million cataract surgeries are performed in the United States annually, so even if the infection rate is 0.1%, that is a significant number of patients. Approximately 4,000 cases of endophthalmitis are recorded annually,” she explained, adding that most of these infections are bacterial, although fungal infections can occur.

    Can we do better?

    Liz Meszaros
    Liz Meszaros is a freelance writer in eastern Pennsylvania.

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