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Eye Protection Following Cataract Surgery: A Systematic Review

Updated: Apr 5, 2022

Article Name: Eye protection following cataract surgery: a systematic review


The use of eye protection following cataract surgery varies among ophthalmologists and there is no consensus or guideline on the ideal eye protection regimen. Protection modalities include a plastic eye shield, an eye patch, a corneal wound-sealing ocular bandage, and no eye protection (instant vision). The rationale for the use of these include:

  • To protect the eye from accidental trauma and allow for immediate visual function (plastic eye shield).

  • Maintain lid closure to prevent trauma, corneal injury, discomfort (eye patch with gauze or cloth).

  • Create a watertight seal at the corneal incision to prevent trauma, dry eye, promote wound healing, and reduce risk of wound leakage and infection (ocular bandage).

  • To allow patients to enjoy improved vision immediately after surgery (instant vision).

What are the takeaway points from this article?

The authors conducted a systematic review to evaluate the quality of evidence for various post-operative eye protection modalities, including patient-reported symptoms. They found that patients consistently report fewer symptoms and a greater preference for some form of eye protection compared to none (instant vision). Patients receiving ocular bandages reported the lowest rate of symptoms versus other groups. This is thought to be due to its support of the cornea, promotion of increased tear film stability, and reduction of dry eye symptoms. However, ocular bandages may be less cost-effective due to the requirement of prophylactic antibiotics and more time and resource intensive as they require removal by a licensed professional.

There was no difference in final best corrected visual acuity between all groups, which indicates that outcomes are the same regardless of eye protection modality used. Therefore, the protective modality used may be determined by patient preference and symptoms rather than outcome. The authors indicate that there are limitations to their systematic review and suggest the need for future studies to determine the optimal type and duration of eye protection use post-operatively.


Dhoot, A. S., Popovic, M. M., Lee, S., El-Defrawy, S., & Schlenker, M. B. (2021). Eye protection following cataract surgery: a systematic review. Canadian Journal of Ophthalmology.

Date Published: December 01, 2021

Summary by: Desiree Naude


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