Purpose: To determine the efficacy of 10% povidone iodine (PVI) drops given before cataract extraction in addition to routine irrigation of the conjunctival sac with 1% PVI.
Methods: This prospective, randomized, single-center study at the Department of Ophthalmology, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, includes 263 eyes of 242 patients undergoing cataract surgery. Patients were randomized to receive 3 drops of 10% PVI into the conjunctival sac (study group) or no PVI drops (control group). All patients underwent periorbital disinfection with 10% PVI followed by irrigation of the conjunctiva with 10 mL of 1% PVI. Specimens were obtained prior to the application of PVI, after antibiotic administration (T1), after irrigation with PVI but before surgery (T2), and at the conclusion of surgery (T3).
Results: After PVI disinfection, the number of positive cultures was significantly reduced in all groups (p<0.0001) from 69%-93% at T1 to 1%-16% at T3. In outpatients, the study group showed significantly fewer positive cultures at the conclusion of surgery compared to the control group (4% vs 16%; p=0.03). Also in inpatients significant fewer positive cultures were found in the study group compared to the control group at T2 (12% vs 28%; p=0.03) and at T3 (1% vs 10%; p=0.03).
Conclusions: Three additional drops of 10% PVI prior to surgery provided additional benefit by reducing the conjunctival bacterial contamination rate even in the setting of preoperative irrigation of the conjunctiva with 1% PVI.