Objective: To determine the effect of repeated intermittent use of topical antibiotics after intravitreal injections on conjunctival bacterial flora and antibiotic resistance.
Design: Cross-sectional case-control study.
Participants and controls: A total of 80 eyes of 40 patients were enrolled (40 study eyes, 40 control eyes). Patients were enrolled with unilateral exudative age-related macular degeneration who had received at least 3 prior intravitreal injections with use of postinjection topical antibiotics. Patients had received an average of 7 (range, 3-13) intravitreal injections before enrollment.
Methods: At the time of enrollment, the inferior fornix of the treated eye was swept with a culture swab before use of povidone iodine; the inferior fornix of the fellow eye was also cultured and served as a control. The culture and sensitivity data from the study and control eyes were analyzed.
Main outcome measures: The rate of antibiotic resistance among the conjunctival bacterial flora of the study eyes and control eyes.
Results: A total of 80 eyes of 40 patients were enrolled in the study; 29 patients used trimethoprim/polymyxin B drops, and 11 patients used fluoroquinolone drops after each injection. A total of 58 bacterial colonies were isolated from 50 eyes. There were no significant differences in bacterial species or culture positivity rates between study and control eyes. Coagulase-negative staphylococcus accounted for 41 of the 58 bacterial colonies (71%). There was a 63.6% resistance rate to fluoroquinolones among study eyes compared with 32.1% among control eyes (P < 0.05). In the subset of 11 study eyes using fluoroquinolone drops for 4 days after injection, there was an 87.5% resistance rate compared with 25.0% in matched control eyes (P = 0.04). There was no significant difference in trimethoprim resistance rates between study and control eyes: Four of 14 study eyes (28.6%) showed resistance compared with 5 of 18 control eyes (27.7%) (P = 1.0).
Conclusions: Use of fluoroquinolone drops after intravitreal injection leads to increased rates of resistance among conjunctival flora. Repeated use of topical fluoroquinolones after intravitreal injections may have a detrimental effect on eye health by breeding resistance in the bacterial flora.
Copyright © 2012 American Academy of Ophthalmology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.