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    Prompt attention vital to managing severe corneal infections

    Patients need to be monitored closely; if no improvement, referral to specialist very important

    Palo Alto, CA—Corneal infections are among the most serious reasons for ophthalmologic visits and require immediate attention. 

    “Early and accurate diagnosis is important for a favorable outcome for a patient with a severe infection of the cornea,” said Christopher N. Ta, MD. 

    Related: Why infections related to PK require intense vigilance

    “It is the infection that can cause severe, irreversible loss of vision,” said Dr. Ta, professor of ophthalmology, Byers Eye Institute, Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, CA. “Infection is the number one thing to diagnose and the number one thing to treat.”

    But infections differ. Different etiologies, different organisms, different susceptibility profiles, different diagnostic and treatment resources, and other factors all play roles in clinical decision making.

    More: Tracking the best treatment for fungal keratitis

    Diagnosis and treatment are relatively straightforward in academic centers and larger cornea specialty clinics. Take a history, perform an examination and take scrapings from the cornea, send the scrapings for culture, identification and susceptibility testing and treat as indicated by the results. 

    “That’s the ideal, but we all recognize that immediate laboratory support may not be available in every ophthalmology clinic,” Dr. Ta noted. “A good history and a careful exam can usually lead you to the right diagnosis and treatment.”

    Related: Photoactivation holds promise for keratitis treatment

    Identifying risk factors

    Fred Gebhart
    The author is a correspondent for Urology Times, a sister publication.

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