The epidemiological features and laboratory results of fungal keratitis: a 10-year review at a referral eye care center in South India

Cornea. 2002 Aug;21(6):555-9. doi: 10.1097/00003226-200208000-00004.


Purpose: To report the epidemiological features and laboratory results of 1,352 cases of fungal keratitis diagnosed at the L.V. Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI) in south India.

Methods: The medical and microbiology records of 1,352 culture proven cases (1,354 eyes) of fungal keratitis diagnosed at the LVPEI between January 1991 to December 2000 was retrospectively reviewed for demographic features, risk factors, seasonal variation, and laboratory findings.

Results: Males (962) were affected significantly more (p< 0.0001) than females (390). Of 1,352 patients, 853 (64.4%) were in the younger age group (16-49 years). Ocular trauma predisposed to infection in 736 (54.4%) of 1,354 eyes. There was a higher incidence of fungal keratitis during the monsoon and winter than summer. A fungal cause was established by smears of corneal scrapings in 1,277 (95.4%) eyes. The potassium hydroxide preparation (KOH), Calcofluor white (CFW), Gram-, and Giemsa-stained smears revealed fungus in 1,219 (91.0%), 1,224 (91.4%), 1,181 (88.2%), and 1,139 (85.1%) eyes, respectively. Fusarium(506, 37.2%) and Aspergillus species (417, 30.7%) predominated the hyaline fungal spectrum (1,133) and Curvularia species (39, 2.8%) were the highest among the dematiaceous isolates (218).

Conclusions: To the best of our knowledge, this review presents the epidemiological features and laboratory results of the largest series of fungal keratitis ever reported in the literature. Keratomycosis is predominant in young adults with trauma as the major predisposing factor. With fungal keratitis being a major ophthalmologic problem in the tropical regions of the world, data available on the epidemiological features of a large series would greatly help medical practitioners at primary and secondary health care centers in the management of the disease. A simple KOH preparation of corneal scraping alone is highly beneficial in confirming the diagnosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Eye Infections, Fungal* / epidemiology
  • Eye Infections, Fungal* / microbiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • India / epidemiology
  • Keratitis* / epidemiology
  • Keratitis* / microbiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors