Intravitreal dexamethasone as adjuvant in the treatment of postoperative endophthalmitis: a prospective randomized trial

Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2005 Dec;243(12):1200-5. doi: 10.1007/s00417-005-0133-1. Epub 2005 Oct 19.


Purpose: To study whether intravitreal dexamethasone as adjuvant to intravitreal antibiotics improves the outcome in patients with suspected postoperative bacterial endophthalmitis.

Design: Prospective randomized clinical trial.

Setting: Tertiary referral center.

Patient population: Twenty-nine consecutive patients with suspected postoperative bacterial endophthalmitis within 6 weeks of cataract surgery.

Intervention: Patients underwent a vitreous biopsy followed by intravitreal injection of antibiotics (0.2 mg vancomycin and 0.05 mg gentamicin) and 400 microg dexamethasone or placebo. After 3-4 days the intravitreal injection of antibiotics and dexamethasone or placebo was repeated.

Primary outcome measure: Snellen visual acuity at 3 and 12 months after treatment.

Results: In 20/29 patients (69%) the vitreous cultures were positive. 13/29 patients received dexamethasone. Seven patients had a functionally lost eye (final vision of hand movements or less), in four due to retinal detachment. Visual acuity tended to be better in the dexamethasone treated patients than in those given placebo, at both 3 months (P=0.055) and 12 months (P=0.080).

Conclusion: This small prospective, placebo-controlled series showed a trend towards a better visual outcome in patients with suspected bacterial endophthalmitis when treatment with intravitreal antibiotics was combined with intravitreal dexamethasone. Our findings justify a larger multicenter randomized study.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Biopsy
  • Cataract Extraction / adverse effects
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Dexamethasone / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Endophthalmitis / drug therapy*
  • Endophthalmitis / etiology
  • Eye Infections, Bacterial / drug therapy*
  • Eye Infections, Bacterial / etiology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gentamicins / therapeutic use
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Injections
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vancomycin / therapeutic use
  • Vitreous Body / microbiology


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Gentamicins
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Vancomycin
  • Dexamethasone