After cataract surgery, in fact after majority of eye surgeries, a steroid eye drop such as dexamethasone, prednisolone or fluorometholone is used to reduce inflammation caused by the surgery and to promote healing. This post-operative steroid eye drops treatment is used for 4-6 weeks after surgery. It is a bit of inconvenience to the patient to use the eye drops for such a long time.
Now to avoid that, a dexamethasone insert is being studied which is placed in the narrow passage (canaliculus) located at the inner side of eyelid margins. Normally, the function of canaliculus is to drain the tears. These canaliculi are present in both the upper and lower eyelids.
The insert stays in place and keeps providing the required dose of dexamethasone to control post-operative inflammation.
A high level of satisfaction was reported by 92% of the patients. All patients described the insert as comfortable, and most of them said they were not aware of it being in the eye. Most patients said they would recommend the insert to family and friends and would request it if they were to undergo cataract surgery again, even if they had to pay an extra cost.
According to the authors, “The absence of preservatives in the product may also act to improve comfort, especially in patients who compared their use of the dexamethasone insert with prior drop experience, as the majority of topical corticosteroid formulations are not preservative free.” Via healio.com
Hopefully in near future, such drug inserts will be routinely implanted at the time of surgery and the patients will not have to bother about using the steroid eye drops for several weeks. The side effects and toxic effects will also be less as these dexamethasone inserts are preservative free.
You may also like to know why steroid eye drops should be gradually tapered off especially if it has been used for a long duration.