Purpose: To evaluate the efficacy of 3 minutes of 5% povidone-iodine for skin and conjunctival antisepsis prior to cataract surgery as recommended by the European Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons.
Methods: A prospective controlled study of 54 patients undergoing unilateral cataract surgery by phacoemulsification was undertaken. The eye undergoing surgery was prepared with 5% povidone-iodine for 3 minutes. The other eye served as control. Swabs were taken from both eyes prior to application of 5% povidone-iodine and 3 minutes after. Proportion of culture-positive swabs, mean number of species, and growth of isolates on culture were compared at different times and between the two groups.
Results: Coagulase-negative Staphylococcus (CoNS) was the main species isolated from culture-positive swabs. Use of 5% povidone-iodine for 3 minutes resulted in a statistically significant reduction in proportion of culture-positive swabs (87% vs 30%, p<0.001), mean number of species (0.96-/+0.47 vs 0.30-/+0.46, p<0.001), and growth of CoNS (heavy: 30% vs 0%, moderate: 23% vs 6%, light: 47% vs 94%, p=0.004). No such changes were observed in the control group.
Conclusions: Use of 5% povidone-iodine for 3 minutes prior to cataract surgery achieves a significant reduction in organisms such as CoNS from lid and conjunctival flora.