Increased incidence of corneal perforation after topical fluoroquinolone treatment for microbial keratitis

Am J Ophthalmol. 2001 Jan;131(1):131-3. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9394(00)00642-5.


Purpose: To compare the incidence of corneal perforation in eyes treated with topical fluoroquinolone or fortified antibiotics for microbial keratitis.

Methods: A retrospective medical record review of patients hospitalized for bacterial keratitis from January 1991 through November 1999.

Results: Two hundred seventy-seven cases of bacterial keratitis were identified. The incidence of corneal perforations was significantly higher in fluoroquinolone-treated eyes (18 out of 142, 12.7%) compared with eyes treated with fortified antibiotics (1 out of 135, 0.7%) (chi-square = 13.6, degrees of freedom (df) = 2, P <.001). Within the fluoroquinolone-treated group, all corneal perforations occurred in those eyes treated with ofloxacin (18 out of 125, 14.4%). Corneal perforations that occurred in the ofloxacin-treated eyes were not associated with any particular microbial isolate.

Conclusion: Our data suggest an increased risk of corneal perforation after fluoroquinolone treatment for bacterial keratitis compared with treatment with fortified antibiotics. Further studies are warranted to verify this association and establish possible mechanisms by which topical fluoroquinolones may alter corneal collagen or keratocyte function.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Infective Agents / adverse effects*
  • Bacteria / isolation & purification
  • Cornea / drug effects*
  • Cornea / microbiology
  • Corneal Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Corneal Ulcer / drug therapy*
  • Corneal Ulcer / microbiology
  • Eye Infections, Bacterial / drug therapy*
  • Eye Infections, Bacterial / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Ofloxacin / adverse effects*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Rupture, Spontaneous


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Ofloxacin