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October 1964

Bacterial Endophthalmitis After Cataract Extraction: A Study of 22 Infections in 20,000 Operations

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School, and the Bacteriology Laboratory, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.

Arch Ophthalmol. 1964;72(4):454-462. doi:10.1001/archopht.1964.00970020454003

Postoperative infection of bacterial origin is a rare but devastating complication of cataract surgery. This paper will indicate its incidence, consider its sources, and analyze factors directly or indirectly related to 22 infections in a series of 20,000 cataract operations performed over a 14-year period at one hospital.

Incidence of Infection  Two factors cloud the true incidence of postoperative cataract infection. The first is the difficulty of differentiating between bacterial endophthalmitis and aseptic postoperative inflammation. The second is the fact that isolated cases of sporadic postoperative sepsis are almost never reported in the literature.Traumatic uveitis in response to the surgical procedure or a severe reaction to lens material remaining in the eye both may simulate bacterial endophthalmitis in producing the classic signs and symptoms of inflammation. Hypopyon may occur with all three. Early loss of the light sense and eventual loss of the eye favor the diagnosis of endophthalmitis.

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