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Mycotic keratitis: an overview of diagnosis and therapy


Dr P. K. Shukla, Medical Mycology Lab, Fermentation Technology Division, Central Drug Research Institute, Post Box 173, M. G. Marg, Lucknow 226 001, India.
Tel.: +91 522 261 2411-18 extn. 4256. Fax: +91 522 263 3938.


The increased incidence of fungal infections in the recent past has been attributed to the increase in the number of human immunodeficiency virus-positive and AIDS patients. Early diagnosis of mycoses in patients is crucial for prompt antifungal therapy. The yield of clinical examination in the diagnosis of keratomycosis is 63–83% and KOH mount is 91%. This still highlights the limitation of routine clinical examination and smear examination, which is not performing 100% efficiently. It is for these 37%, 17% and 9% of cases, every day advanced technologies are called for. Those who deal with patient care are aware of certainties and uncertainties of results of clinical examination. The best reported figures at specialized centres might not translate into clinical practice. Another factor to be kept in mind is that many patients who come after secondary and tertiary referrals are already treated with antibiotics, antivirals, steroids and sometimes even antifungals that distort the clinical picture completely. Further, one has to consider as well the cases caused by yeast-like fungi, which resemble bacterial keratitis. Confirmation of diagnosis, not only in case of mycotic keratitis but also for other diseases, to initiate prompt and accurate therapy would avoid unnecessary and indiscriminate use of steroids/antibacterials/antivirals and antifungals.