Purpose: To evaluate the effect of dexamethasone eyedrops on blood glucose.
Methods: Two hundred eighty-five patients who underwent cataract surgery were prospectively randomized to receive treatment with topical dexamethasone or diclofenac for 1 month. A capillary blood sample was collected before surgery, immediately after, 1 week later, and 1 month later.
Results: A significant increase in blood glucose levels was noted only in the diabetic dexamethasone group, from 170 +/- 55.5 (mg/dl) before surgery to 229 +/- 76.8 (mg/dl) 1 month later (p = 0.05, 95% confidence interval of -13 to -83.2). The latter level was significantly higher than the 1-month level in the diabetic patients treated with diclofenac drops (198.4 +/- 66.5 mg/dl, p = 0.038).
Conclusions: Postoperative dexamethasone eyedrops have a greater effect on the blood glucose profile of diabetic patients than on nondiabetic patients. Clinicians should be alerted to this risk and may initiate appropriate follow-up in this patient subgroup.