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Br J Ophthalmol 81:965-971 doi:10.1136/bjo.81.11.965
  • Original Article
    • Clinical science

Epidemiology and aetiological diagnosis of corneal ulceration in Madurai, south India

Abstract

AIMS/BACKGROUND To determine the epidemiological characteristics and risk factors predisposing to corneal ulceration in Madurai, south India, and to identify the specific pathogenic organisms responsible for infection.

METHODS All patients with suspected infectious central corneal ulceration presenting to the ocular microbiology and cornea service at Aravind Eye Hospital, Madurai, from 1 January to 31 March 1994 were evaluated. Sociodemographic data and information pertaining to risk factors were recorded, all patients were examined, and corneal cultures and scrapings were performed.

RESULTS In the 3 month period 434 patients with central corneal ulceration were evaluated. A history of previous corneal injury was present in 284 patients (65.4%). Cornea cultures were positive in 297 patients (68.4%). Of those individuals with positive cultures 140 (47.1%) had pure bacterial infections, 139 (46.8%) had pure fungal infections, 15 (5.1%) had mixed bacteria and fungi, and three (1.0%) grew pure cultures ofAcanthamoeba. The most common bacterial pathogen isolated was Streptococcus pneumoniae, representing 44.3% of all positive bacterial cultures, followed by Pseudomonas spp (14.4%). The most common fungal pathogen isolated was Fusariumspp, representing 47.1% of all positive fungal cultures, followed by Aspergillus spp (16.1%).

CONCLUSIONS Central corneal ulceration is a common problem in south India and most often occurs after a superficial corneal injury with organic material. Bacterial and fungal infections occur in equal numbers with Streptococcus pneumoniaeaccounting for the majority of bacterial ulcers and Fusariumspp responsible for most of the fungal infections. These findings have important public health implications for the treatment and prevention of corneal ulceration in the developing world.

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