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June 1989

Controversies in Ocular Prophylaxis of Newborns

Author Affiliations

Madison, Wis

Arch Ophthalmol. 1989;107(6):814-815. doi:10.1001/archopht.1989.01070010836023

In the past few years the routine practice of instilling 1% silver nitrate drops as prophylaxis against conjunctivitis in the newborn has been challenged. Many states in this country have changed regulations to include instillation of antibiotics as an alternative. The United Kingdom stopped requiring prophylaxis of any form more than 25 years ago and Sweden stopped approximately 8 years ago. However, in Sweden prophylaxis is still used in infants born to mothers who did not receive comprehensive prenatal care. In the past 2 years there have been some editorials in nonophthalmic journals discussing these issues, as well as a number of articles reporting additional information.

It is difficult, if not impossible, to derive a universal policy on prophylaxis that addresses the issues of prevention of blindness, the prevalence of infectious diseases, differences in frequency and intensity of prenatal care, cost-effectiveness, social customs, variation in places of birthing, and the

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