Following cataract surgery, patients are often prescribed a cocktail of eye drops to help them recover. These can include antibiotics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and steroids. But new research is showing that, in most cases, NSAID drops don’t really do much for the patient. According to a study out of the Helsinki University Hospital in Finland, combining steroids and NSAIDs gets the same results as steroids alone and, in a head-to-head match-up, steroids alone have a lower rate of posterior capsule opacification than NSAIDs alone.

The researchers took a retrospective look at 13,368 uncomplicated cataract cases who presented to the hospital between 2014 and 2018. Some were treated with steroids alone (28.9% of cases), while others were treated with NSAIDs alone (62.2%) and 8.9% were treated with a combination of both. Treatment with steroids resulted in significantly lower Nd:YAG capsulotomy rates compared with NSAIDs alone, the research shows. Additionally, the combination therapy method showed no added benefits over steroids alone.

The patients in this study had a mean age of 73.2±9.7 years and 61.7% were female. Their mean follow-up time was 22.8±15.7 months.

Hecht I, Karesvuo P, Achiron A, et al. Anti-inflammatory medication after cataract surgery and posterior capsular opacification. A, J Ophthalmol. February 14, 2020. [Epub ahead of print].