An evaluation of saline irrigation and comparison of povidone-iodine and antibiotic in the surface decontamination of donor eyes

Arch Ophthalmol. 1991 Jun;109(6):869-72. doi: 10.1001/archopht.1991.01080060133041.


We evaluated the effect of saline irrigation on 38 pairs of donor eyes and determined the relative efficacy of antibiotic rinse/storage (neomycin-polymyxin B-gramicidin) and povidone-iodine immersion. Microbial growth was found in 49 (64.5%) of 76 eyes from which cultures were taken before irrigation, and only four (8.2%) became culture negative after irrigation. Of 27 eyes culture negative before irrigation, 15 (55.6%) became positive after irrigation. One eye of each pair was then assigned randomly to antibiotic rinse/storage and the other eye to 3-minute immersion in 1% povidone-iodine. Both antimicrobial treatments decreased the numbers of positive cultures, with povidone-iodine showing an advantage that did not reach significance. These results demonstrate that saline irrigation of donor eyes in situ does not reduce surface contamination and that povidone-iodine immersion should be considered as an alternative for donor eye decontamination.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Bacteria / drug effects*
  • Bacteria / isolation & purification
  • Colony Count, Microbial
  • Decontamination / methods
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Eye / microbiology*
  • Humans
  • Povidone-Iodine / pharmacology*
  • Random Allocation
  • Sodium Chloride / pharmacology*
  • Therapeutic Irrigation
  • Tissue Donors*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Sodium Chloride
  • Povidone-Iodine