Peri-Operative Intracameral Antibiotics: The Perfect Storm?

J Ocul Pharmacol Ther. 2020 Nov;36(9):668-671. doi: 10.1089/jop.2020.0034. Epub 2020 Jun 22.


In our University journal club we discussed a large, retrospective study of cataract surgery endophthalmitis rates before and after instituting the use of an intracameral fluoroquinolone antibiotic. We identified several factors involved in the use of off-label, compounded moxifloxacin in intraocular surgery. The introduction of phacoemulsification for cataract surgery led to the potential for smaller incisions. Intraocular lens technology improved to allow for foldable lenses, obviating the requirement to enlarge the incision. This allowed for clear corneal incisions, which unfortunately allow bidirectional passage of liquid. Preservatives were introduced into multi-dose ophthalmic products in the mid 20th century to retard microbial growth. However, more recently, chronic use of benzalkonium chloride has led to concerns about concerns about conjunctival toxicity, especially in patients with ocular surface disease. In the formulation of ocular moxifloxacin, developers were able to develop a "self-preserved", multi-dose product. Other concerns with eyedrops include varying levels of adherence and performance, and the expansion of compounding pharmacies from a named-patient basis to widespread national delivery, with concerns for lower quality. Integrating these factors, use of intracameral moxifloxacin as a prophylactic during cataract and other anterior segment surgery has become a standard of care in much of the U.S. We are concerned that the current position is on a narrow ledge-the standard of care for millions of surgeries each year based upon off-label, compounting use of a single product. We discuss possible ramifications and solutions to this public health issue.

Keywords: antibiotics; intracameral; prophylaxis; surgery.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Ophthalmic*
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Antibiotic Prophylaxis / methods*
  • Antibiotic Prophylaxis / trends
  • Cataract / drug therapy
  • Cataract Extraction / methods*
  • Cataract Extraction / trends
  • Humans
  • Off-Label Use*
  • Perioperative Care / methods*
  • Perioperative Care / trends


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents