Direct immunofluorescence (DIF) techniques were compared with conventional cell culture for the diagnosis of ocular infections with Chlamydia trachomatis. The DIF test was found to have a sensitivity of 100% and a specificity of 97.5%. Of 178 patients studied, 19 patients (11%) were positive by DIF and 15 (8.4%) by conventional cell culture technique. Four patients who had previous treatment with chloramphenicol eye drops were negative by cell culture but positive by the DIF test. The DIF test is considered to be a rapid, accurate test with a number of advantages over culture techniques for the detection of C. trachomatis. The importance of appropriate referral of positive patients to prevent more serious sequelae due to C. trachomatis infection is discussed.
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