Perioperative Corneal Abrasions after Nonocular Surgery: A Systematic Review

Alexandra M. Papp, Grant A. Justin*, Christian T. Vernau, James K. Aden, Brian M. Fitzgerald, Gregory P. Kraus, Gary L. Legault

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Purpose:To perform a systematic review of the international literature evaluating the risk factors, preventative steps, and treatments for perioperative corneal injuries for nonocular surgery.Methods:PubMed, Embase, and Evidence-Based Medicine Reviews databases were searched on April 13, 2018. Two hundred four articles were identified with 16 meeting the inclusion criteria. All studies were evaluated for quality and level of evidence. Two types of studies were included. The first were primary epidemiological studies that looked at the rates of perioperative corneal injuries after nonocular surgery and the second were trials that either studied preventative steps or treatments.Results:A statistical analysis was completed to reveal trends in perioperative corneal abrasions. Rates ranged from 0.01% to 59% with a cumulative rate of 0.64% (95% confidence interval 0.36%-1.35%). Primary risk factors were identified as longer procedures, general anesthesia, and advanced age. The most commonly associated ocular injuries were found to include chemical injury, conjunctivitis, blurred vision, and conjunctival congestion. Treatment strategies for corneal abrasion in the literature recommended erythromycin ointment and ample ocular lubrication for the fastest recovery. Education interventions alone, as studied in 2 of the 16 articles, demonstrated a significant decrease in the rate of corneal abrasions.Conclusions:Standardized ocular protection, reporting, and education initiatives were found to maximally decrease rates of perioperative corneal abrasions after nonocular surgery. However, no gold standard currently exists for intraoperative ocular protection. More research needs to be conducted on specific prevention strategies and content of educational initiatives in hopes of standard development across facilities nationwide.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)927-932
Number of pages6
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • corneal abrasion
  • perioperative


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