Chemical preparation of the eye in ophthalmic surgery. IV. Comparison of povidone-iodine on the conjunctiva with a prophylactic antibiotic

Arch Ophthalmol. 1985 Sep;103(9):1340-2. doi: 10.1001/archopht.1985.01050090092039.


We previously found that half-strength (5%) povidone-iodine solution significantly reduced the bacterial flora of the conjunctiva. To compare the antibacterial effect of a topical combination antibiotic (Neosporin ophthalmic solution) given three times daily for three days preoperatively with that of half-strength povidone-iodine solution given as part of the preoperative preparation, conjunctival cultures were studied from 35 patients undergoing ocular surgery. When used individually, the antibiotic and povidone-iodine solutions caused a similar and substantial decrease in the number of colonies and species of bacteria cultured. When both drugs were used together, the decrease was even more striking, making 83% of the conjunctivae sterile. To minimize bacterial flora before ocular surgery, we recommend that a broad-spectrum topical antibiotic be given for three days preoperatively and that half-strength povidone-iodine solution be used as part of the preoperative preparation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Bacitracin / therapeutic use*
  • Conjunctiva / microbiology*
  • Corynebacterium / isolation & purification
  • Drug Combinations / therapeutic use
  • Haemophilus / isolation & purification
  • Humans
  • Neomycin / therapeutic use*
  • Ophthalmic Solutions
  • Ophthalmologic Surgical Procedures*
  • Polymyxin B / therapeutic use*
  • Polymyxins / therapeutic use*
  • Povidone / analogs & derivatives*
  • Povidone-Iodine / therapeutic use*
  • Premedication*
  • Proteus / isolation & purification
  • Staphylococcus / isolation & purification
  • Streptococcus / isolation & purification


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Drug Combinations
  • Ophthalmic Solutions
  • Polymyxins
  • Bacitracin
  • bacitracin zinc, neomycin sulfate, polymyxin B, drug combination
  • Povidone-Iodine
  • Povidone
  • Neomycin
  • Polymyxin B