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Aust N Z J Ophthalmol. 1998 Feb;26(1):5-12.

Patterns of peri-operative prophylaxis for cataract surgery: a survey of Australian ophthalmologists.

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  • 1Department of Ophthalmology, The Prince of Wales Hospital, Randwick, New South Wales, Australia.



Although peri-operative prophylaxis to prevent endophthalmitis is commonly practised by ophthalmologists, no one method has clearly been demonstrated to be more effective than another. We surveyed 570 Fellows of the Royal Australian College of Ophthalmologists to determine what their methods of prophylaxis were and whether these differed for patients who developed endophthalmitis.


The questionnaire asked about the types of antibiotics and other methods of prophylaxis used before, during and after cataract surgery. Of those who reported cases of endophthalmitis, we asked specifically about the methods of prophylaxis used for those patients.


The response was 89% and the incidence of endophthalmitis was calculated as 0.11%. There was little difference in the methods of prophylaxis used by those who reported endophthalmitis compared with others, but pre-operative antibiotics were used more commonly by those who reported the disease (P = 0.06). Surgeons who had practised for 20 years or more reported a lower rate of endophthalmitis than others, as did those who performed more than 300 cataract operations per year. However the pattern of prophylaxis used by these two sub-groups was quite divergent. Differences in the methods of prophylaxis had no bearing on the development of endophthalmitis, with the exception that subconjunctival antibiotics were used less often in those patients who developed the disease (P = 0.03).


The results of the present study provide no clear answer regarding appropriate peri-operative prophylaxis. The wide range of prophylactic regimens used suggests that no one method is superior to another. Formal case-controlled studies are required to identify which method would be most efficacious.

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