Improved cataract surgery lowers infection rates

March 6, 2009

Endophthalmitis continues to be rare after cataract surgery, according to a study by Canadian researchers.

San Francisco-Endophthalmitis continues to be rare after cataract surgery, according to a study by Canadian researchers. Surgical techniques and patient selection criteria have evolved rapidly in the past several years and researchers wanted to learn whether infection risks were changing as a result.

Records were reviewed of more than 440,000 consecutive cataract surgeries performed in surgical facilities in Ontario, Canada between April 2002 and March 2006. Facilities where more than 50 cataract surgeries were performed were included.

Postoperative procedures to treat suspected infection that occurred within 14 days of cataract surgery were tracked by the study. The overall rate of suspected acute endophthalmitis was very low: 1.4 per 1,000 surgeries.

Patients who required correction of ruptures of their lens capsule during cataract surgery were about 10 times more likely to develop suspected infection, but fewer than 1 in 200 sustained such a rupture. The highest rate of suspected endophthalmitis occurred in patients aged 85 or more years (2.18 per 1,000).