Importance: In the United States, the rate of gonococcal ophthalmia neonatorum was an estimated 0.4 cases per 100 000 live births per year from 2013 to 2017. Gonococcal ophthalmia neonatorum can cause corneal scarring, ocular perforation, and blindness as early as 24 hours after birth. In the absence of ocular prophylaxis, transmission rates of gonococcal infection from mother to newborn are 30% to 50%.
Objective: To reaffirm the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) 2011 recommendation on ocular prophylaxis for gonococcal ophthalmia neonatorum.
Evidence review: The USPSTF commissioned a reaffirmation evidence update to identify new and substantial evidence sufficient enough to change its prior recommendation.
Findings: Using a reaffirmation process, the USPSTF found no new data that would change its previous conclusion that topical ocular prophylaxis is effective in preventing gonococcal ophthalmia neonatorum and related ocular conditions. The USPSTF found no new data that would change its previous conclusion that there is convincing evidence that topical ocular prophylaxis of all newborns is not associated with serious harms. Therefore, the USPSTF reaffirms its previous conclusion that there is convincing evidence that topical ocular prophylaxis for all newborns provides substantial benefit.
Conclusions and recommendation: The USPSTF recommends prophylactic ocular topical medication for all newborns to prevent gonococcal ophthalmia neonatorum. (A recommendation).