Microsporidial Stromal Keratitis: Epidemiological Features, Slit-Lamp Biomicroscopic Characteristics, and Therapy

Cornea. 2021 Dec 1;40(12):1532-1540. doi: 10.1097/ICO.0000000000002704.


Purpose: Microsporidial stromal keratitis is a rare form of infectious keratitis, with only 7 cases reported in the United States to date. This study was performed to evaluate risk factors, clinical features, and response to therapy.

Methods: A retrospective review of the medical records of all patients diagnosed with microsporidial stromal keratitis seen in the practices of the authors between 1999 and 2020 was performed. Diagnosis was determined by cytology or histopathology in corneal specimens. Risk factors, presence or absence of distinctive clinical features, and response to medical and surgical therapies were recorded.

Results: Nine patients-7M:2F, aged 7 to 99 years-with microsporidial stromal keratitis were identified. Exposures to recreational water and hymenopteran insect bites, both epidemiologically linked risk factors for systemic microsporidial infection, were identified in our patients. Presence of stromal edema with features of disciform keratitis and a distinctive granular keratitis were observed in 6 of 9 and 5 of 9 patients, respectively. Poor response to medical therapy was noted. Penetrating keratoplasty was effective in curing the infection. Final visual acuity was 20/40 or better in 6 of 9 patients.

Conclusions: In patients with slowly progressive keratitis, history of exposure to recreational water or hymenopteran insects should be sought. In patients with corneal edema consistent with disciform keratitis, with evolution to a granular keratitis, microsporidia should be considered in the differential diagnosis. In cases of established microsporidial stromal keratitis, penetrating keratoplasty should be considered if prompt response to medical therapy is not noted.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antifungal Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Biopsy
  • Child
  • Corneal Stroma / microbiology
  • Corneal Stroma / pathology*
  • Eye Infections, Fungal / diagnosis
  • Eye Infections, Fungal / epidemiology*
  • Eye Infections, Fungal / therapy
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Keratitis / diagnosis
  • Keratitis / epidemiology*
  • Keratitis / therapy
  • Keratoplasty, Penetrating / methods*
  • Male
  • Microsporidia / isolation & purification
  • Microsporidiosis / diagnosis
  • Microsporidiosis / epidemiology*
  • Microsporidiosis / therapy
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Slit Lamp Microscopy / methods*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Visual Acuity
  • Young Adult


  • Antifungal Agents