Evaluating a Dropless Postoperative Regimen After Cataract Surgery in a Vulnerable, County-hospital Population

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    University of California, San Francisco
Updated on 3 June 2023
ophthalmic solution
bilateral cataracts


The current postoperative cataract surgery eye drop regimen used at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital (ZSFG) is a significant burden for its patient population, contributing to high rates of non-adherence and the development of postoperative complications. The investigators propose to replace this complex regimen with a single administration of intraocular antibiotic and subconjunctival steroid at the time of surgery. This pilot study will obtain the preliminary data required to eventually fully evaluate this innovation in postoperative care in a safety-net population with respect to postoperative outcomes, patient compliance, and patient and caregiver satisfaction.


Frequent postoperative drop usage is a burden for vulnerable or indigent patients, who face significant barriers in maintaining standard postoperative regimens, contributing to higher rates of postoperative drop noncompliance and complications. Currently, patients undergoing cataract surgery at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, a safety-net county hospital, are started on a standard regimen of several different eye drops as part of routine postoperative recovery from cataract surgery and prophylaxis against the most troubling known postsurgical complications: endophthalmitis (devastating intraocular infection) and cystoid macular edema (CME; fluid collections in the retina causing distortion of visual acuity). On an internal review of clinic data, approximately 40% of patients undergoing cataract surgery at ZSFG are non-adherent or only partially adherent with postoperative eye drops due to a variety of causes, including difficulty instilling drops, remembering or understanding the drop regimen, and keeping physical track of multiple bottles without losing them or having them stolen. As the prevalence of comorbid ocular pathologies requiring separate chronic drop therapy (such as glaucoma) is high in this population, these difficulties are compounded with increasing numbers of eye drops and high frequency and complexity of the drop regimens. Together, these challenges have led to a frustrating rate of postoperative complications in this clinic population, particularly the rate of CME, which is approximately twice the national rate. Identifying a postoperative regimen that is feasible for surgeons, convenient for patients, and effective in preventing postoperative complications is therefore imperative particularly for this vulnerable cohort.

Recent retrospective studies suggest that single injections of cefuroxime and triamcinolone acetonide within the eye at the time of surgery is safe and noninferior to standard drop regimens in preventing postoperative complications among non-indigent patients. The investigators hypothesize that this dropless regimen would have several important benefits in this cohort of vulnerable patients: increases in patient and caregiver satisfaction, improvements in adherence with other treatment plans within the first postoperative month when not burdened with postoperative drops, and a more desirable overall cost effectiveness for all payers. The investigators further estimate that the regimen may actually be superior to the standard regimen in preventing postoperative complications in this population, given the high rate of patient non-adherence to the standard postoperative care. By employing a prospective, crossover design randomizing the eyes of patients requiring bilateral sequential cataract surgery to either the standard drop regimen or the dropless technique and following the outcomes through the first postoperative month, the investigators aim to demonstrate a significant improvement in patient and caregiver satisfaction, and adherence to all medications during the postoperative period of patients receiving the dropless regimen as compared to patients receiving the standard regimen. Additionally, in this initial small pilot, the investigators anticipate demonstrating a trend towards superiority in prevention of adverse post-surgical outcomes in the dropless cohort.

Condition Cataract, Surgery, Compliance, Patient, Compliance, Medication, Satisfaction, Patient
Treatment Dropless Regimen, Standard Regimen
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT05157113
SponsorUniversity of California, San Francisco
Last Modified on3 June 2023

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