Objective: To evaluate the safety of Surodex Drug Delivery System (Oculex Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Sunnyvale, CA) containing dexamethasone 60 micrograms, for use in cataract surgery, and to compare its anti-inflammatory efficacy with conventional dexamethasone 0.1% eyedrops.
Design: Randomized, masked, and partially controlled trial.
Participants: Sixty eyes of 60 Asian patients undergoing extracapsular cataract extraction with intraocular lens implantation were examined. Of these, 28 eyes of 28 patients served as control eyes. Patients were stratified for age and presence of diabetes mellitus.
Intervention: Surodex was inserted in the anterior chamber of 32 eyes at the conclusion of surgery. These eyes received placebo eyedrops four times a day after surgery for 4 weeks. Control eyes received neither Surodex nor a placebo implant but were prescribed conventional 0.1% dexamethasone eyedrops four times a day for 4 weeks.
Main outcome measures: Anterior chamber cells and flare were clinically graded at the slit lamp. Anterior chamber flare was objectively assessed with the Kowa FM500 Laser Flare Meter (Kowa Co. Ltd, Tokyo, Japan) for up to 3 months after surgery. Intraocular pressure and corneal endothelial specular microscopy with morphometric cell analysis were performed for up to 1 year after surgery.
Results: Clinical slit-lamp assessment of anterior chamber flare and cells showed no difference between Surodex-treated eyes and dexamethasone eyedrop-treated eyes. Flare meter readings showed lower flare levels in the Surodex group at all postoperative visits compared with the dexamethasone eyedrop group. Flare reduction in the Surodex group reached statistical significance at days 4, 8, 15, and 30 after surgery. At 3 months, flare was reduced to preoperative levels in the Surodex group but was still raised in the dexamethasone eyedrop group. Five eyes in the dexamethasone eyedrop group required augmentation of steroids and were deemed therapeutic failures as opposed to one eye in the Surodex group. One patient in the dexamethasone eyedrop group developed postoperative open-angle glaucoma with profound visual field loss and optic disc cupping, resulting in hand movements vision. No significant difference in endothelial cell loss was noted between Surodex-inserted eyes and dexamethasone eyedrop-treated eyes for up to 1 year after surgery.
Conclusions: Intraocular placement of a single Surodex is a safe and effective treatment method to reduce intraocular inflammation after cataract surgery. There was no statistical difference in efficacy between Surodex and 0.1% dexamethasone eyedrops in reducing intraocular inflammation, as measured by clinical methods, while Surodex was clearly superior to eyedrops in reducing aqueous flare as objectively assessed with the laser flare meter.