Purpose: To compare the effectiveness of 2 medications commonly used to prevent intraocular pressure (IOP) elevation in the early period after cataract surgery.
Setting: Palo Alto Veterans Affairs Health Care System, Palo Alto, California, USA.
Methods: This prospective study comprised 202 eyes of patients scheduled for cataract extraction who agreed to participate. Patients were randomized to receive oral acetazolamide, 500 mg 1 hour preoperatively; oral acetazolamide, 500 mg immediately postoperatively; apraclonidine hydrochloride 1%, 2 drops 1 hour preoperatively; or artificial tears (control group). Intraocular pressure was measured preoperatively and 4 to 6 and 24 hours postoperatively.
Results: Preoperative IOP was not significantly different among the 4 groups. At 4 to 6 hours postoperatively, only preoperative acetazolamide was significantly more effective than the control medication (P = .038); at 24 hours there were no significant differences among the 4 groups. Postoperative IOP elevation in excess of 35 mm Hg at 6 or 24 hours decreased significantly in the preoperative acetazolamide group (3/46 eyes) compared with the control group (14/54 eyes). There was no statistically significant difference in IOP elevation between eyes having extracapsular cataract extraction and those having phacoemulsification, independent of treatment group.
Conclusion: The results favor preoperative acetazolamide to control postcataract IOP elevation. The method of cataract removal did not affect postoperative IOP elevation.