Corneal complications associated with topical ophthalmic use of nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs.

Congdon NG, Schein OD, von Kulajta P, Lubomski LH, Gilbert D, Katz J.

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To explore the potential association between adverse corneal events and the use of topical nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).


Practice-based reports.


A detailed case-reporting form and request for medical records were sent to all practices reporting cases of corneal or conjunctival pathology in association with the use of topical NSAIDs to the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery. Cases were classified as "mild," "moderate," or "severe" according to predetermined clinical criteria.


Records of 140 eyes (129 patients) were reviewed; 51 cases (36.4%) were mild, 55 (39.3%) moderate, and 34 (24.3%) severe. An association with a specific topical NSAID was confirmed in 117 cases (81.8%). Most confirmed cases (53.8%) involved generic diclofenac (Falcon). Cases associated with brand diclofenac (Voltaren, CIBA Vision) and ketorolac (Acular, Allergan) were more likely to have ocular comorbidity and to have received significantly higher total doses of NSAIDs. Neither "off-label" use nor use of any specific agent was associated with severe compared to mild or moderate disease. However, patients with more severe adverse events were more likely to have a history of diabetes, previous surgery in the affected eye, and surgery other than cataract. Cases not occurring in the perioperative period had significantly worse outcomes, had significantly more ocular comorbidities, and received nearly 3 times the dose of NSAIDs.


While topical NSAIDs as a class may be associated with severe adverse events, such events appeared to require potentiation in the form of high total doses, ocular comorbidities, or both with Acular and Voltaren. Severe adverse events might have been more likely to occur at lower doses and in routine postoperative settings with generic diclofenac.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Cataract and Refractive Surgery
Publication statusPublished - 2001


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