BACKGROUND--Anterior chamber aspirates on completion of extracapsular cataract surgery contain significant numbers of organisms, particularly coagulase negative staphylococci, an important cause of endophthalmitis. METHODS--Culture rates were compared in 50 patients after phacoemulsification surgery, which allows the possible benefits of a small, self sealing wound and maintenance of positive intraocular pressure, with a similar number of extracapsular cases. RESULTS--A culture positive rate of 20% and 24% respectively was found, an insignificant difference. CONCLUSION--Small incision surgery has no proved advantage over extracapsular surgery in terms of reducing the intraoperative bacterial inoculum. The significance of this result in terms of causation of endophthalmitis is discussed.
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