Purpose: To evaluate the demographic features, clinical profile, and laboratory diagnosis in cases of mycotic keratitis in children.
Methods: We retrospectively analyzed 211 cases of mycotic keratitis in children younger than 16 years over a 5-year period in a tertiary eye center. Culture-proven cases of fungal keratitis were reviewed.
Results: Trauma was the most common predisposing factor (55.3%), followed by associated systemic illness (11.2%), previous ocular surgery (9.8%), and others. Corneal injury contaminated with vegetable matter was responsible for 60.5% of traumatic cases. Aspergillus species were the most frequent isolates (39.5%). Others included Fusarium (10.7%), Alternaria (10.2%), Curvularia (7.4%), and Penicillium (7%). A seasonal variation in the incidence of mycotic keratitis revealed a peak incidence in the months of September and October. One hundred sixty-two children (76.7%) cooperated for examination and scraping under topical anesthesia with or without sedation. General anesthesia for scraping was required in 49 (23%) of 211 children for corneal scraping. Gram stains of corneal scraping were positive for hyphal elements in 54.5% of cases, and potassium hydroxide wet-mount preparation was positive in 90.2% of cases.
Conclusions: This study highlights important risk factors and organisms responsible for mycotic keratitis in children.