To report the French refractive surgeons' real-life practices for preventing infection after corneal refractive surgery (photorefractive keratotomy [PRK], laser in situ keratomileusis [LASIK], and small-incision lenticule extraction).
Anonymous practice survey.
The questionnaire was sent in a single email invitation to 400 declared refractive surgeons. The following information was recorded between December 2019 and April 2020, before the coronavirus pandemic: demographics data, preoperative evaluation and preparation of the patient, surgical management, immediate and postoperative protocol, and infections reported after corneal refractive surgery.
Eighty-three of 400 surgeons (20.75%) responded to the questionnaire; 55 (66.0%) performed more than 50 corneal refractive surgeries a year, and 25 (30.1%) performed more than 200 procedures a year. Thirty-six (43.4%) surgeons wore 3 protective items, 37 (44.6%) 2, 5 (6.0%) 1, and 5 (6.0%) zero. Seventy-seven (92.8%) surgeons used povidone–iodine for skin area disinfection and 54 (65%) for conjunctival fornix disinfection. The contact time of povidone–iodine was less than 3 minutes for 71 (85.0%) surgeons. Twenty surgeons (24.1%) reported at least 1 postrefractive surgery infection. Twenty percent of surgeons who wore sterile gloves for PRK reported postoperative infections compared with 62.5% for those who did not (P = .008). These figures were, respectively, 8.7% and 66.7% for the use of sterile gloves during LASIK (P = .002); 8.9% of surgeons who wore surgical masks for LASIK reported postoperative infections compared with 50.0% for those who did not (P = .01).
Practices are variable among French refractive surgeons. Wearing a surgical mask and sterile gloves during corneal refractive surgery appears to be advisable.