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Improving Carbon Footprint While Reducing Endophthalmitis Rate

Published: 03.11.2021
Dr. R. Venkatesh Aravind Eye Hospital

It is an individual’s responsibility to keep nature greener and pollution-free for better survival. This can be easily done by reducing the emission of greenhouse gases (CO2 and Methane) generated by our action, which adds to the global carbon footprint. Aravind Eye Care System has been instrumental in reducing the carbon footprint by reducing the operating room (OR) waste and reducing the post-cataract surgery endophthalmitis rate.

Cataract surgery is the most common intraocular procedure performed, and it’s the duty of a cataract surgeon to perform a safe and sterile surgery under necessary aseptic precautions. However, despite the best of efforts, sometimes the outcome is not perfect, resulting in dreaded complication of endophthalmitis.  The reported incidence of endophthalmitis varies from 0.02% to 0.41%.  Aravind Eye Hospital, Pondicherry, in their landmark retrospective analysis of 42,426 cataract surgeries, reported 38 cases of presumed postoperative endophthalmitis with an incidence of 0.09%.  This has been possible by employing strict asepsis protocol, high-speed short cycle steam modified sterilization technique, and continuous reuse of I/A tubing and irrigation solutions despite being a high volume centre. The reported endophthalmitis rate was comparable to that reported in other modern settings. In the recent past after the introduction of intracameral antibiotics the incidence of endophthalmitis at Aravind Eye Hospitals has reduced fourfold to 0.02%.

Minimizing endophthalmitis risk reduces the burden on society. The hospital stay, travel time, and multiple patient visits are minimized, which further reduces the carbon emission and, in turn, the carbon footprint. Similarly, reuse and sterilization of instruments, towels, and gowns reduce the OR waste and further reduce carbon footprint.

Photo on top: Fawaz Alsharif