The use of surgical facemasks during cataract surgery: is it necessary?

There were significantly fewer organisms cultured when the surgeon used a facemask (p=0.0006). The majority of organisms were Staphylococcus epidermidis, Bacillus spp, and Diphtheroid spp; however Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa were cultured on several occasions. There were no cases of infective complication. The main purpose of an operating mask is to prevent bacteria falling on to the operative site from the surgeon's oropharynx or nasopharynx with the concomitant theoretical risk of infective complication. Operating masks were shown to have a significant effect on the volume of bacterial organisms falling to the operative site; however, whether this is clinically significant is unknown.