Antibiotic resistance patterns of ocular bacterial flora: a prospective study of patients undergoing anterior segment surgery

Ophthalmology. 2003 Oct;110(10):1946-51. doi: 10.1016/s0161-6420(03)00735-8.


Purpose: To determine the antibiotic susceptibility patterns of conjunctival bacterial flora isolated preoperatively from patients undergoing anterior segment surgery.

Design: Prospective observational study.

Participants: One hundred fifty-six eyes from 139 patients scheduled for anterior segment surgery were enrolled over a 6-month period from August 2001 to February 2002.

Methods: Conjunctival cultures were obtained on the day of surgery before povidone-iodine or antibiotic application.

Main outcome measures: Bacterial isolates were identified and tested for antibiotic susceptibility using the Kirby-Bauer disc-diffusion technique.

Results: Among the 156 eyes studied, 36 were from patients who had undergone either bilateral surgery or more than one surgery in the same eye. Only the first eyes of the 120 patients that underwent initial ocular surgery were included in our analysis. Of these 120 eyes, 21 (18%) showed no bacterial growth. Of the 143 bacterial strains isolated from the remaining 99 eyes, 112 (78%) were coagulase-negative staphylococci (CNS). Among the CNS, greater than 90% were susceptible to cefotaxime, levofloxacin, imipenem, meropenem, vancomycin, and each of the aminoglycosides except neomycin. Between 70% and 90% of the CNS were susceptible to cefazolin, neomycin, ciprofloxacin, ofloxacin, norfloxacin, and chloramphenicol. Less than 70% of the isolated CNS were sensitive to the penicillin analogues, ceftazidime, erythromycin, and tetracycline.

Conclusions: Preoperative conjunctival isolates of CNS seem to be most sensitive to vancomycin, the aminoglycosides (except neomycin), and levofloxacin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Anterior Eye Segment / surgery*
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Bacteria / drug effects
  • Bacteria / isolation & purification*
  • Conjunctiva / microbiology*
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial*
  • Eyelids / microbiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Prospective Studies


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents