Friday, January 7, 2011

Preventing Infections in Eye Surgery

One of the most devastating things that can happen from cataract surgery is a serious infection inside the eye (endophthalmitis). The most common source of infection is from bacteria in the tears or on the eyelids that find their way into the eye as a result of infection. Empirically, eye surgeons prescribe antibiotic eye drops to be utilized before and after surgery although this has never been conclusively shown to effect the rate of endophthalmitis. The only measures known to decrease the risk of eye infection from cataract surgery is the use of povidone iodine dropped into the eye just before surgery and the use of antibiotics injected into the eye at the time of surgery. I do both of these measures but many ophthalmologists do not inject antibiotics because there are no commercially available antibiotics specifically approved for this use. Hopefully this will eventually happen and the rate of serious eye infections will decrease. To watch a video of cataract surgery, visit my YouTube page.