The opioid epidemic has placed a significant burden on the US healthcare system, and optometry has proved to be no exception. Given that intravenous drug abuse is a major risk factor for endogenous endophthalmitis, researchers investigated drug-related incidence rates and found that this patient group accounts for an increasing proportion of cases.

The cross-sectional study of 56,839 patients admitted for endogenous endophthalmitis revealed a four-fold increase in the hospital admission rate between 2003 and 2016. About 14% of these patients had a history of drug use, which was most common among younger male patients.

“Clinicians should maintain a high index of suspicion for endophthalmitis when evaluating patients with intraocular inflammation in the setting of drug dependence or use,” the researchers wrote in their paper.

Mir TA, Papudesu C, Fang W, et al. Incidence of drug use-related endogenous endophthalmitis hospitalizations in the United States, 2003 to 2016. JAMA Ophthalmol. November 5, 2020. [Epub ahead of print].