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Steroids and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in the postoperative regime after trabeculectomy - which provides the better outcome? A systematic review and meta-analysis

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Surgical outcome after trabeculectomy depends on maintaining a functional bleb which requires a delicate balance between incomplete wound healing to prevent fibrosis and enough wound healing to prevent hyperfiltration. Thus, controlling the inflammatory response is essential. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to compare the effectiveness of different formulations of steroids (topical, systemic and depot) and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in achieving long-term pressure control with fewer antiglaucomatous medications, preserving visual acuity and visual fields while considering surgical and postoperative complications. We used the PubMed, EMBASE and Cochrane Libraries to identify randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing the effect of different formulations of steroids (topical, systemic or depot) to NSAIDs. Data on prespecified outcomes from eligible references were entered into a meta-analysis using the Review Manager 5.3 program. We identified seven RCTs with a total of 342 included patients. Topical steroids were superior to placebo in controlling intraocular pressure (IOP) and reducing the risk of complications. Supplementing topical steroids with a perioperative steroid depot (subtenon or intracamerally) or systemic steroids in the early postoperative period did not provide better outcome or a change in the risk of complications. Addition of topical NSAIDs to topical steroids in patients undergoing trabeculectomy did not change the outcome or risk profile. For patients undergoing phacotrabeculectomy and topical NSAID, there was a nonsignificant trend towards better intermediate IOP control and a reduced need for antiglaucomatous medications compared to topical steroids but there was no difference in effect for patients undergoing trabeculectomy. In conclusion, there is a low level of evidence to support the clinician in deciding which postoperative regime provides a more favourable outcome because of inconsistency in the reported outcomes between studies and a low number of patients for each comparable intervention and outcome. It does seem that topical steroids are better than no anti-inflammatory treatment after glaucoma surgery, but further research is recommended.

Original languageEnglish
JournalActa Ophthalmologica
Volume97
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)146-157
ISSN1755-375X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

ID: 56582346