[Ocular infections of the elderly]

Presse Med. 2002 Oct 5;31(32):1521-9.
[Article in French]


A CLINICAL ASPECT DEPENDING ON THE PHYSIOPATHOGENESIS: Ocular infections are a frequent motive for ophthalmological consultations in geriatric settings because of the mechanical factors related to age (modifications in palpebral dynamics and lacrymal function) and in local and general immune factors leading to the rapid and/or more severe development of infections. The mechanism of microbial contamination of the eye also determines the clinical damage: predominantly local (dirty hands, traumas) with involvement of the surface tissues (conjunctive and cornea) or general, hematogenic or neurogenic, frequently at the origin of more internal infections (iris, choroid, retina, optical nerve). CONJUNCTIVITIS AND KERATITIS: These provoke reddening of the eyes, tears and above all pain when the corneal epithelium is involved. Microbiological samples are useful in cases of severe, presumably infectious keratitis or conjunctivitis. Two emergency situations must be distinguished: any suspicion of herpes for which local corticosteroids are contraindicated and keratitis or conjunctivitis with the use of lenses, often due to Gram negative bacilli, amoeba or fungus, the treatment of which is intensive and the prognosis often severe. OPHTHALMOLOGICAL HERPES ZOSTER: The rapid diagnosis and introduction of efficient doses of antivirals reduces the initial pain, the ocular complications of herpes zoster and post-zoster pain. The latter, when it exists, requires specialized management. ACUTE UVEITIS: A context of intra-ocular inflammation in an elderly patient must always evoke a pseudo-uveitis syndrome, the principle cause of which is lymphoma. Conversely, an uveitis occurring in the days or weeks following ocular surgery, including cataract, must be considered as suggestive of a post-surgical infection and rapidly referred to a specialist. ACUTE DACRYOCYSTITIS: Is manifested by a hard and painful tumefaction below the internal angle of the eye. Following collection, it requires draining through an in incision in the skin, washing and packing of the sac, and systemic antibiotherapy. The preventive treatment of recurrences requires open dacryocystorhinostomy or via endonasal endoscopy.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • English Abstract
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Conjunctivitis, Bacterial / diagnosis
  • Conjunctivitis, Bacterial / epidemiology
  • Conjunctivitis, Bacterial / therapy
  • Dacryocystitis / diagnosis
  • Dacryocystitis / epidemiology
  • Dacryocystitis / therapy
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Emergencies
  • Eye Infections / diagnosis
  • Eye Infections / epidemiology*
  • Eye Infections / immunology
  • Eye Infections / therapy
  • Eye Infections, Bacterial / diagnosis
  • Eye Infections, Bacterial / epidemiology
  • Eye Infections, Bacterial / therapy
  • Eye Infections, Fungal / diagnosis
  • Eye Infections, Fungal / epidemiology
  • Eye Infections, Fungal / therapy
  • Herpes Zoster Ophthalmicus / diagnosis
  • Herpes Zoster Ophthalmicus / epidemiology
  • Herpes Zoster Ophthalmicus / therapy
  • Humans
  • Keratitis / diagnosis
  • Keratitis / epidemiology
  • Keratitis / therapy
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Factors
  • Uveitis / diagnosis
  • Uveitis / epidemiology
  • Uveitis / therapy


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents