• Written By: Jennifer Li, MD
    Cornea/External Disease

    Based on the results of this retrospective study, the authors recommend the use of sodium hyaluronate as a corneal protective agent during challenging vitreoretinal surgeries, despite its higher cost.

    Corneal clarity is very important during vitreoretinal surgery, and as a result, it is not uncommon for surgeons to perform intraoperative epithelial debridement to improve visualization.

    To that end, the study’s authors evaluated the impact of intraoperative use of topical hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (HPMC) 2% versus sodium hyaluronate 1.2% on corneal re-epithelialization time and postoperative corneal clarity in 40 eyes.

    They found that re-epithelialization time was significantly shorter in the sodium hyaluronate 1.2% group than in the HPMC group. Moreover, eyes in the HPMC 2% group were more likely to have long-term sequelae of recurrent epithelial defects (15%) or corneal haze (35%).

    They conclude that the cost of postoperative corneal complications, resulting in additional medication and the delay of patient rehabilitation, as well as more follow-up visits, may outweigh any initial economic advantage of using products other than sodium hyaluronate that are less expensive.