Universal Face Masking Associated With Reduced Endophthalmitis After Intravitreal Injections

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Ophthalmology office. Masked patient and doctor – Covid 19 in consultation. Refractive telescope, slit lamp, fundus, AMD, eye diabetes, retinal scanner, Volk lens, Cover test, glasses, blur. Old person. (Photo by: Pascal Bachelet/BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Researchers examined the incidence and outcome of post-injection endophthalmitis during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This article is part of Ophthalmology Advisor’s Focus on Retina coverage from the 2021 meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, held in New Orleans from November 12 to 15, 2021. The team at Ophthalmology Advisor will be reporting on a variety of the research presented by the retinal experts at the AAO. Check back for more from the AAO 2021 Meeting.


Universal face masking did not increase the risk of postinjection endophthalmitis (PIE) but it may be associated with a decrease the rate of culture-positive endophthalmitis, according to research being presented at the American Academy of Ophthalmology 2021 Annual Meeting, held in New Orleans from November 12-15.

Researchers sought to assess the impact of universal face masking on the incidence and outcome of PIE during the COVID-19 pandemic. The study included eyes receiving intravitreal injections at 12 centers during the period between October 1, 2019 and July 31, 2020.  Patients were divided into a “no face mask” group if masks were not worn during injections or a “universal face mask” group if face masks were worn by the physician, patient, and staff during injections.

Out of 505,968 intravitreal injections performed during the time of the study, 85 cases (1 in 3,464 injections) of presumed PIE were reported in the “no face mask” group and 45 (1 in 4,699 injections) occurred in the “universal face mask” group (P =.097).  

Although there was not a statistically significant difference in the risk of presumed endophthalmitis, researchers did report that culture positive endophthalmitis occurred in 1 in 10,908 injections for the “no face mask” group compared with 1 in 23,494 injections in the “universal face mask” group (P =.041). The groups demonstrated no statistically significant differences at 3 months post treatment (P =.764). 

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Patel SN, Storey PP, Wolfe J, et al. The influence of universal face mask use on endophthalmitis risk after intravitreal Anti-VEGF injections during the COVID-19 pandemic. Paper presented at: The American Academy of Ophthalmology 2021 Annual Meeting; November 12-15, 2021; New Orleans. Abstract PA045.