Topical ophthalmic medications used on the ward and from the outpatient area have been taken and cultured for potential bacterial contamination in the laboratory. We examined 143 bottles used by patients who had had routine cataract surgery and trabeculectomy. We also examined for bacterial contamination 216 bottles of eyedrops used in the outpatient area of the hospital. No contamination was found in the postoperative eyedrops, but five bottles were contaminated from the outpatient area (2.3%). The bacterial growth from outpatient drops was of the same order of magnitude as in previous studies. The practice in the UK for postoperative eyedrops to be discarded and fresh, separate bottles to take home is discussed. We recommend that this practice be changed so that the postoperative drops used for 72 hours or less are taken home.
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