Incidence of postoperative endophthalmitis after immediate sequential bilateral cataract surgery

J Cataract Refract Surg. 2011 Dec;37(12):2105-14. doi: 10.1016/j.jcrs.2011.06.036.


Purpose: To determine a best estimate of the incidence of endophthalmitis after immediately sequential bilateral cataract surgery (ISBCS) and assess the benefit of prophylactic intracameral antibiotics.

Setting: Eye Foundation of Canada, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Design: Cohort study.

Methods: A detailed literature search was performed to obtain recently reported frequencies of postoperative endophthalmitis with or without the use of prophylactic intracameral antibiotics. Members of the International Society of Bilateral Cataract Surgeons were surveyed. The data were collected to determine the results of unilateral and bilateral cataract surgeries performed by experienced bilateral cataract surgeons. The data were statistically analyzed.

Results: In recently published European prophylactic intracameral cephalosporin studies, the incidence of postoperative endophthalmitis after unilateral cataract surgery weight-averaged to 1 in 331 (0.3%) without prophylactic intracameral antibiotics and to 1 in 1977 (0.05%) with prophylactic intracameral antibiotics, whereas studies in the United States using only topical antibiotics reported infection rates as low as 0.028%. Four cases of bilateral simultaneous endophthalmitis after ISBCS have been reported in the past 60 years, all with breaches of aseptic protocol. No bilateral simultaneous endophthalmitis occurred in the 95 606 ISBCS cases collected. The overall rate of postoperative endophthalmitis after ISBCS was 1 in 5759. Infection rates were significantly reduced with intracameral antibiotics to 1 in 14 352 cases.

Conclusions: The risk for postoperative endophthalmitis in ISBCS appears to be at least as low as and possibly lower than published rates for unilateral surgery, particularly when recommended precautions are taken. Intracameral antibiotics significantly reduced the risk for postoperative endophthalmitis.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anterior Chamber / drug effects
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antibiotic Prophylaxis
  • Cohort Studies
  • Databases, Factual
  • Endophthalmitis / epidemiology*
  • Endophthalmitis / prevention & control
  • Global Health
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Lens Implantation, Intraocular
  • Ophthalmology / statistics & numerical data
  • Phacoemulsification*
  • Postoperative Complications*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Societies, Medical / statistics & numerical data


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents