Purpose: To report the treatment strategies and visual acuity outcomes of chronic postoperative endophthalmitis caused by Propionibacterium acnes. Design: Retrospective noncomparative case series. Participants: All patients presenting 8 or more weeks after cataract surgery with intraocular inflammation caused by culture-proven P. acnes infection and treated at two institutions from 1974 through 1996 were included. Methods: Patients underwent three different initial treatment strategies. The study did not have a defined treatment protocol, but all patients received intraocular antibiotics. Patients were not randomly assigned to the various treatment strategies. Main Outcome Measures: Final visual acuity and effectiveness of various treatment procedures either as initial or follow-up therapy were assessed. Results: Using the 3 initial strategies, 36 patients were treated: (1) intraocular antibiotic injection alone (IOAB; n = 12); (2) pars plana vitrectomy and IOAB injection (PPV; n = 10); and (3) PPV with subtotal capsulectomy and IOAB injection (PPV-PC; n = 14). The number of patients with recurrent or persistent inflammation after one of the three initial treatment strategies were as follows: (1) IOAB alone, 12 (100%); (2) PPV, 5 (50%); and (3) PPV-PC, 2 (14%). None of the patients that underwent subsequent PPV, total capsular bag removal, IOAB injection, and either intraocular lens (IOL) exchange or removal had persistent or recurrent intraocular inflammation. Overall, final visual acuity was 20/40 or better in 18 patients (50%), and a total of 28 patients (78%) retained 20/400 or better vision. The mean follow- up after the last treatment was 2.9 years. Conclusions: In this series of chronic P. acnes endophthalmitis, initial treatment with IOAB injection alone or vitrectomy without capsulectomy was associated with high rates of recurrent or persistent intraocular inflammation. Pars plana vitrectomy, partial capsulectomy, and IOAB injection without IOL exchange was usually successful on long-term follow-up. In patients with recurrent intraocular inflammation, pars plana vitrectomy, total capsular bag removal, IOAB injection, and IOL exchange or removal was a uniformly successful strategy. In contrast to other types of postoperative endophthalmitis, IOL exchange can be considered in these patients after total capsular bag removal.
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