To determine the effect of implementing standardized opioid prescribing guidelines on prescription patterns for acute pain after ophthalmic surgery in opioid-naïve patients.
Quality improvement study.
Ophthalmic surgeons in an academic department of ophthalmology.
Postoperative opioid prescribing patterns were compared before and after the implementation of standardized opioid prescribing guidelines for ophthalmic surgery at an academic institution. Only prescriptions provided to opioid-naïve patients 18 years of age or older were included. Surgeons reached a consensus for standardized prescribing guidelines appropriate for the type of surgery within their subspecialty. Guidelines were disseminated in conjunction with postsurgical pain management education to all ophthalmologists in the department, including trainees. The frequency of opioid prescriptions, the quantity of opioid prescribed (converted to oral morphine equivalent [OME]), and opioid prescription refill rates were compared before and after intervention.
Prescriptions with more than 80 OME, frequency of opioid prescriptions, mean OME, and refill rates.
Of 5349 ophthalmic surgeries performed during the 2 assessment periods, 196 (3.7%) were associated with opioid prescriptions for acute postoperative pain. The frequency of opioid prescriptions decreased to 3.0% (81/2736) after intervention compared with 4.4% (115/2613) before intervention (P = 0.005). When opioids were prescribed, the mean OME decreased from 93 (range, 27-500) before intervention to 42 (range, 14-100) after intervention (P = 0.003). The number of prescriptions for more than 80 OME decreased from 56 (2.1%) before intervention to 4 (0.1%) after intervention (P < 0.001). Based on the standardized guidelines, 103 of the 115 (89.6%) preintervention opioid prescriptions would not have adhered to the guidelines, whereas 39 of the 81 (48.1%) postintervention prescriptions did not adhere to the guidelines (P < 0.001). The proportion of refill prescriptions did not differ before and after intervention (P = 0.44).
The process of discussing postsurgical pain management and developing standardized opioid prescribing guidelines reduces overprescribing of opioids after ophthalmic surgery without increasing refill rates. Continued education is required to improve adherence to the prescribing guidelines further.

Copyright © 2020 American Academy of Ophthalmology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.