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SYMPOSIUM
Year : 2008  |  Volume : 56  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 209-213

Investigative modalities in infectious keratitis


RP Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi - 110 029, India

Correspondence Address:
Radhika Tandon
RP Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi - 110 029
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0301-4738.40359

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Standard recommended guidelines for diagnosis of infectious keratitis do exist. Based on an extensive Medline literature search, the various investigative modalities available for aiding the diagnosis of microbial keratitis have been reviewed and described briefly. Preferred practice patterns have been outlined and the importance of routine pre-treatment cultures in the primary management of infectious keratitis has been highlighted. Corneal scraping, tear samples and corneal biopsy are few of the specimens needed to carry out the investigative procedures for diagnosis and for initiating therapy in cases of microbial keratitis. In bacterial, fungal and amoebic keratitis, microscopic examination of smears is essential for rapid diagnosis. Potassium hydroxide (KOH) wet mount, Gram's stain and Giemsa stain are widely used and are important for clinicians to start empirical therapy before microbial culture results are available. The usefulness of performing corneal cultures in all cases of suspected infectious keratitis has been well established. In cases of suspected viral keratitis, therapy can be initiated on clinical judgment alone. If a viral culture is needed, scrapings should directly be inoculated into the viral transport media. In vivo confocal microscopy is a useful adjunct to slit lamp bio-microscopy for supplementing diagnosis in most cases and establishing early diagnosis in many cases of non-responding fungal and amoebic keratitis. This is a non-invasive, high resolution technique which allows rapid detection of Acanthamoeba cysts and trophozoites and fungal hyphae in the cornea long before laboratory cultures give conclusive results. Other new modalities for detection of microbial keratitis include molecular diagnostic techniques like polymerase chain reaction, and genetic finger printing by pulsed field gel electrophoresis.


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