Comparison of clinical and microbiological profiles in smear-positive and smear-negative cases of suspected microbial keratitis

Sharma, Savitri; Taneja, Mukesh; Gupta, Rakesh; Upponi, Anjali; Gopinathan, Usha; Nutheti, Rishita; Garg, Prashant
January 2007
Indian Journal of Ophthalmology;Jan2007, Vol. 55 Issue 1, p21
Academic Journal
journal article
Purpose: To examine the hypothesis that initial smear examination results have a significant bearing on the management and outcome of suspected microbial keratitis.Materials and Methods: One hundred and seventy consecutive patients with suspected microbial keratitis were included in a prospective nonrandomized comparative study and their detailed clinical and microbiological data (smears and cultures of corneal scrapings) were captured on a predesigned corneal ulcer database. Patients were divided into two groups: Group 1 included 68 patients with corneal scrapings negative in smears while Group 2 included 102 patients with corneal scrapings positive in smears. The two groups were compared for their clinico-microbiological profile, management and clinical outcome. The outcome was noted at three months. Fisher's exact test was applied for statistical analysis.Results: Cultures were sterile in 57.3% of patients in Group 1 compared to 17.6% in Group 2. Scrapings that grew S. pneumoniae, gram-negative organisms, fungi and Acanthamoeba were more often positive in smears (18.6%, 11.8%, 19.6% and 2.9% respectively). While data on duration of prior treatment was not available, prior medication made no significant difference to smear results. More (79.3%) patients of Group 1 had small infiltrate size (Conclusions: Initial smear examination helps in instituting specific therapy thereby improving the outcome in cases of microbial keratitis. Positive smears indicate greater severity of disease and prior medication may not be a significant cause of smear negativity.


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