Postoperative inflammation following cataract extraction caused by bacterial contamination of the cleaning bath detergent

J Cataract Refract Surg. 1992 Jan;18(1):106-10. doi: 10.1016/s0886-3350(13)80391-4.


Five of 16 patients who had uncomplicated cataract extraction with intraocular lens (IOL) implantation within a 2.5 day period experienced increased anterior segment inflammation on their first postoperative day. Four of these five patients had phacoemulsification and one a planned extracapsular cataract extraction. All had posterior chamber IOL implantation in the capsular bag. In all patients, this anterior segment inflammation cleared with topical steroids over two to three weeks with no evident residual ocular effects. A careful search for the possible cause of the inflammation showed that the ultrasonic cleaning bath and Weck liquid detergent used to clean the instruments contained Klebsiella pneumoniae bacteria. Further investigation demonstrated the presence of a heat-stable endotoxin produced by the bacteria. We postulate that endotoxin remaining on the instruments after cleaning and sterilization caused this postoperative anterior segment inflammation. To the best of our knowledge, these are the first reported cases caused by contaminated liquid detergent.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cataract Extraction*
  • Detergents
  • Disinfectants
  • Endophthalmitis / microbiology*
  • Equipment Contamination*
  • Eye Infections, Bacterial / etiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Klebsiella Infections / etiology*
  • Klebsiella pneumoniae / isolation & purification*
  • Lenses, Intraocular
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Detergents
  • Disinfectants