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Eur J Ophthalmol. 2003 Nov-Dec;13(9-10):773-8.

The effect of intraoperative antibiotics in irrigating solutions on aqueous humor contamination and endophthalmitis after phacoemulsification surgery.

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Department of Ophthalmology, Gülhane Military Medical Academy and Medical School Hospital, Ankara, Turkey.



To determine the efficacy of intraoperative antibiotic use in irrigating solutions on aqueous humor contamination during phacoemulsification surgery and to evaluate the corresponding risk of postoperative endophthalmitis.


644 eyes of 640 patients who underwent phacoemulsification surgery with foldable intraocular lens (IOL) implantation were included in this study. Preoperative conjunctival smears were taken and eyes were allocated to receive irrigating infusion fluid containing either balanced salt solution (BSS)-only (group 1; 322 eyes) or BSS with antibiotics (vancomycin and gentamycin) during surgery (group 2; 322 eyes). Bacterial contamination rates of aqueous humor samples taken in the beginning and at the end of operation were compared. Predictive factors for the development of postoperative endophthalmitis were determined by clinical and microbiologic analyses.


The rates of culture-positivity were similar between group 1 and group 2 for both preoperative conjunctival smears and aqueous samples (p > 0.05). Aqueous samples taken at the end of operation were found to be contaminated in 68 (21.1%) eyes in group 1 and 22 (6.8%) eyes in group 2, and the difference was significant (p = 0.0001; OR = 3.65 (2.1-6.0)). Capsular rupture was associated with higher rate of contamination in both groups (p = 0.0001; OR = 7.7 and p = 0.0001; OR = 8.1). Two eyes in the BSS-only group developed postoperative endophthalmitis and these cases had posterior capsular rupture during the surgery and culture-positivity for staphylococcus epidermidis throughout the study.


Intraoperative antibiotic irrigation decreases aqueous humor contamination during phacoemulsification. Further studies are warranted to determine the interrelationship between aqueous humor contamination and endophthalmitis in eyes with posterior capsular rupture.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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