Indian Journal of Ophthalmology

: 1984  |  Volume : 32  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 311--315

Mycotic keratitis in indian patients

Anita Panda, Madan Mohan, G Mukherjee 
 Dr. Rajendra Prasad Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences, AIMS, Ansari Nagar, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Anita Panda
Dr. Rajendra Prasad Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences, AIIMS, Ansari Nagar, New Delhi

How to cite this article:
Panda A, Mohan M, Mukherjee G. Mycotic keratitis in indian patients.Indian J Ophthalmol 1984;32:311-315

How to cite this URL:
Panda A, Mohan M, Mukherjee G. Mycotic keratitis in indian patients. Indian J Ophthalmol [serial online] 1984 [cited 2023 Mar 28 ];32:311-315
Available from:

Full Text

Various reports regarding microbiological study, medical treatment, surgical treatment and experimental aspects of the mycotic keratitis are seen in the literature.[1],[2],[3],[4],[5],[6] Hardly any study is seen about their histopathologi­cal characters.

A study therefore has been conducted on corneal buttons with the clinical diagnosis of mycotic corneal ulcers to review the detail his­topathological nature.


A total of 140 corneal buttons diagnosed as mycotic keratitis histopatho logically dur­ing a period of 16 years were analysed. After fixation the sections were stained with haematoxylene and eosine, PAS and Gomeri silver methenamine. A thorough microscopi­cal examination was carried out to study the detailed histopathological findings.


The aetiological distribution of the ulcer is shown in [Figure 1]. The status of the epithelium and Bowman's membrane is highlighted in [Table 1][Table 2] respectively. The site of the cor­neal involvement is shown in [Table 3] and [Figure 2]. [Table 4][Table 5] exhibit the depth of the corneal involvement and depth where the fungus could be identified [Figure 3][Figure 4][Figure 5][Figure 6]. The type and spread of the fungus is evident from [Table 6]. The type of infiltrative reactions is highlighted in [Table 7].


The normal cornea is remarkably resistant to mycotic infection. Inspite of its remarkable ability to repair itself after injury a large num­ber of cases are seen suffering from kerato­mycosis. The reason being the negligence of the patient & improper management of the injury. The other reason of development of keratomycosis in cases where the fungus infection is superimposed on some other ocular disease is also inappropriate manage­ The effective treatment of a fungal cor­neal ulcer requires r arly diagnosis and vigorous therapy. As there is possibility ofget­ting positive report from normal con­junctivalsacs and negative report from the face of active infection a scrapping from the junction of the ulcer and healthy cornea is ideal.[7] The three buttons which showed presence of hyphae at epithelial level were not purely epithelial but seen only when there was deeper involvement and only in 2.14% of but­tons. Therefore to diagnose mycotic -sub keratitis the superficial layer study is not at all ade­quate. The chances of contamination does not arise in cases where the diagnosis is his­topathologically proved. The other important indication of histopathological study is to know the exact site of involvement, thus the graft prognosis can be given before hand.

Judging from the histopathological study one can anticipate invasion of the corneal stroma by the fungus for a considerable dis­tance beyond the ulcer bed. In advanced cases, the fungus reaches the Descemet's membrane and extends to the periphery. In some cases it may penetrate the Descemet's membrane to enter the anterior chamber without producing clinical evidence of cor­neal perforation. Therefore one can very well plan the post-operative therapy in these cases. In this study 70% of eyes had deeper involve­ment. However, type of fungus does not alter the surgical treatment. Interestingly the but­tons where the carpet lesions were seen, when assessed, almost all of them had poor nut­ritional status and low immunity for which supportive therapy was instituted, so it is evi­dent that even if one does not know the general status of the patient it can be com­mented after noting this histopathological findings and the case can have the proper treatment.

Therefore the histopathological study of the corneal button is not only helpful for the local management of the case but also calls for systemic management.

It is a known fact that the fungal hyphae lie parallel to the corneal surface.[7] As about 2/3rd of the cases showed vertically running down pattern it became quite interesting to know the reasons. Surprisingly it was noted that those showing vertically down running fungal hyphae, majority of them had pre­operative local corticosteroid. However, this does not help us in future management

It is interesting to note the infiltrative reac­tion also. Presence of polymorphonuclear reaction in corneal stroma sugests bacterial and that of mononuclear reaction fungal involvement. In this present study even though the polymorpho reaction is mostly seen it is due to fungal rather than bacterial, as presence of micro-abscess is itself the diagnostic clue for fungal infection. There­fore whatever the number of polymor­phonuclear reaction, in presence of multiple abscess formation the case is to be diagnosed as keratomycosis.

Environmental factor plays some role for the type of organisms. India being the hoter climate aspergillus infection is most com­monly encountered. Next common was the candida which occurred mostly during war­mer period such as rainy season.


Histopathological analysis of 140 mycotic corneal buttons has been carried out. Atten­tion is drawn to the extent of invasion of the tissue and eventually of the prognosis. Several interesting conclusions are drawn:­

1. Histopathological examination of the cor­neal buttons in cases where therapeutic keratovlasty was performed is important

2. The question of contamination does not arise as in case of cultures.

3. The exact depth of the involvement by the fungus can be known.

4. Immunity of the individual can be detected.

5. Graft prognosis could be anticipated.[8]


1Anderson B., Roberts Jr. S.S., Gonzalez C. and Chick E.W., 1959. Arch. Ophthalmol. 62: 169.
2Kaufman H.E. and Wood RM., 1965. Amer. J. Ophthalmol. 59: 993.
3Mukherjee G., Mohan M. and Saini J.S., 1980. Ind. J. Ophthalmol. 28: 32.
4Malik S.R.KX and Mitter S., 1979. Ind. J. Ophthalmol. 27: 190.
5Singh G. and Malik S.R.K., 1972. Brit. J. Ophthalmol. 56:41.
6Khosla P.K., Chawla KS., Prem Prakash and Mahajan V.M., 1978. East. Arch. Ophthalmol. 6: 34.
7Zimmerman L.E., 1963. Survey of Ophthalmol. 8: 1.
8Asgher Ali Syed, 1976. Sixth AFRO Asian Congress of Ophthalmology, 379.