Nocardia arthritidis scleritis: A case report

Am J Ophthalmol Case Rep. 2023 Jan 12;29:101794. doi: 10.1016/j.ajoc.2023.101794. eCollection 2023 Mar.


Purpose: This report describes a case and management of a 69-year-old female with infectious scleritis found to be caused by Nocardia arthritidis species.

Observations: Our patient presented with severe constant pain in the left eye (OS) following cataract surgery. She had a pertinent past medical history significant for renal transplantation (on oral tacrolimus, mycophenolate, and prednisone). Slit lamp examination OS (1 month after cataract surgery) demonstrated 3+ injection temporally accompanied by scleral thickening and multiloculated abscesses with purulent drainage from small conjunctival erosions. The abscesses were debrided and sent for gram stain and culture. The patient was treated with repeated subconjunctival injections of antibiotics and an antifungal; topical amphotericin, vancomycin, and amikacin; and oral trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (double strength). Two separate gram stains with cultures confirmed the diagnosis and species identification. The patient responded well to repeat subconjunctival injections early on in addition to the prescribed regimen, remaining free of disease at the last follow-up (12 months following presentation).

Conclusions and importance: This unique case demonstrates infectious scleritis caused by an uncommon Nocardia species (N. arthritidis) that was successfully treated with similar strategies used for other reported Nocardia species. As Nocardia scleritis can lead to adverse outcomes if not treated promptly and properly, it should be considered on the differential diagnoses in an immunocompromised patient who presents with acute ocular symptoms after any recent ocular surgery.

Keywords: BCL, bandage contact lens; HIV, Human Immunodeficiency Virus; Infectious scleritis; LASIK, laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis; Nocardia; Nocardia arthritidis; OD, Right eye; OS, Left eye; Scleritis; TMP/SMX, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole.

Publication types

  • Case Reports