Different techniques of extracapsular cataract extraction: bacterial contamination during surgery. Prospective study on 230 consecutive patients

Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 1994 May;232(5):308-11. doi: 10.1007/BF00194481.


This study was performed to investigate the correlation between the contamination of the anterior chamber and the technique of extracapsular cataract extraction (ECCE). Three different methods were used: uncomplicated planned ECCE, phacoemulsification involving suturing method, and sutureless technique. All patients had posterior chamber intraocular lenses implanted. Two hundred and thirty consecutive patients were included in this prospective study, and preoperative smears of the conjunctiva and intraoperative aspirates of the anterior chamber were investigated. Samples of the aqueous humor were taken at the beginning and at the end of the operation. Cultures were incubated and held for 14 days. More than 71% of the preoperative smears were contaminated by coagulase-negative staphylococci, the most commonly isolated bacteria. However, 27% of the patients had culture-positive anterior chamber aspirates intraoperatively, also with coagulase-negative staphylococci as the most frequent organisms. In no case did postoperative endophthalmitis develop. Preliminary results in a small population show that the contamination of the aqueous humor is statistically significantly less frequent if the cataract extraction is performed by phacoemulsification than if it is done without phacoemulsification. Another interesting finding is that anterior chamber contamination is not significantly more frequent, if a sutureless technique is used for cataract surgery.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aqueous Humor / microbiology
  • Bacteria / isolation & purification
  • Cataract Extraction / methods*
  • Conjunctiva / microbiology
  • Eye Infections, Bacterial / etiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intraoperative Complications / etiology*
  • Lenses, Intraocular
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies