Background: Anterior chamber paracentesis is a valuable diagnostic tool in the management of uveitis, but may be underutilized because of concerns over its safety. We evaluated the safety profile of anterior chamber paracentesis performed at the slit lamp as an outpatient procedure.
Design: Retrospective, observational case series in a single tertiary centre.
Participants: Five hundred and sixty patients with uveitis undergoing anterior chamber paracentesis.
Methods: All anterior chamber paracenteses performed at the slit lamp for diagnostic or research purposes between January 1997 and June 2009 were analysed with regard to adverse events and pipet/syringe used. Procedures were included whether carried out on undilated or dilated pupils.
Main Outcome Measures: Adverse events and serious adverse events.
Results: Out of 560 paracenteses, 510 were performed with a 27-gauge fixed-needle tuberculin syringe, and 50 using an O'Rourke aqueous pipet. All patients were prescribed a short course of topical antibiotic and examined post-procedure and 1–2 weeks later. Out of 560 procedures there were four complications (0.7%). Two patients had inadvertent injection of sterile air into the anterior chamber but with spontaneous resolution and no adverse outcome (O'Rourke pipet for both). One patient had anterior lens capsule touch that was self-sealing and left a tiny localized opacity (tuberculin syringe). One patient had an allergic reaction to povidone iodine. No patients reported pain, and there were no cases of iris trauma, entry site leak, hypotony, hyphaema or endophthalmitis.
Conclusion: Anterior chamber paracentesis can be performed safely as an outpatient procedure at the slit lamp following adequate aseptic precaution, and appropriate counselling.