Purpose: To ascertain the conjunctival bacterial pattern of diabetics undergoing cataract operation to reduce the risk of postoperative endophthalmitis (PE).
Methods: An observational retrospective study of the conjunctival bacteria of consecutive patients undergoing cataract surgery from July 2005 to November 2008. Records of patients having eye surgical prophylaxis in the 6 months before the culture and those patients having cataract operation combined with other surgical procedures were excluded. Aerobic and microaerobic cultures were carried out. Dade-Behring panels were used for bacterial identification. The database containing the isolated bacteria was linked to another Access database containing demographic and clinical data such as diabetes presence and baseline blood glucose and creatinine levels. The conjunctival bacteria of diabetics were compared with those of the non-diabetics. Epidat 3.1 program was used for statistical calculations.
Results: From 5922 selected patients, 1325 (22.37%) knew they were diabetics (higher prevalence than expected). Among self-reported non-diabetics, 900 (15.2%) could be 'unknown' diabetics; another 274 had an impaired renal function; and 3423 non-diabetics joined the control group. Diabetics have a significantly higher prevalence of Staphylococcus aureus, Enterococci, certain Streptococci, and Klebsiella sp. than non-diabetics. Diabetics and non-diabetics having a blood creatinine level above 105.2 mumol/l had an increased conjunctival bacterial prevalence; these groups had a higher mean age and men predominated.
Conclusions: Diabetics have a conjunctival flora pattern whose increased bacteria are a predominant cause of many diabetic infections. An abnormally high blood creatinine level is an indicator of increased conjunctival colonisation in diabetics and non-diabetics.