Purpose: This report describes the presenting clinical ophthalmic features and historical findings in patients with a clinical diagnosis of endophthalmitis after cataract extraction or secondary lens implant surgery screened for enrollment in the Endophthalmitis Vitrectomy Study (EVS).
Design: Clinic-based, cross-sectional study.
Participants: Eight hundred fifty-four patients suspected to have endophthalmitis after cataract extraction or secondary lens implantation.
Methods: As part of the screening process for the study, an eye examination, a medical history, and demographic data were recorded in standardized form for all patients with endophthalmitis after cataract extraction or secondary lens implant surgery referred to the clinical centers, regardless of whether the patient met entry criteria.
Main outcome measures: Demographics, presenting signs, and symptoms.
Results: The median age of individuals presenting with suspected bacterial endophthalmitis was 75 years (range, 9-100 years). Most of those screened (57.7%) were women. Seventy-nine percent of patients sought treatment within 6 weeks of surgery. Blurred vision, conjunctival injection, pain, and lid swelling were the predominant presenting symptoms in order of prevalence. Ocular pain and hypopyon, widely regarded as diagnostic of endophthalmitis, were each absent in 25% of patients. The median hypopyon height, when present, was 1.5 mm.
Conclusions: The classic presentation of postoperative endophthalmitis includes reduced vision, conjunctival hyperemia, pain, hypopyon, and lid swelling within days after cataract surgery or secondary lens implantation. These were the prominent clinical findings in the EVS as well. Because pain and hypopyon, although common, were not always present, clinicians must be vigilant in postsurgical monitoring of patients.