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Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2011 Feb 25;52(2):1093-7. doi: 10.1167/iovs.10-6067.

In vivo quantification of bacterial keratitis with optical coherence tomography.

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  • 1Southampton Eye Unit, Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust, Southampton, United Kingdom.



To quantify the human corneal inflammatory response in treated bacterial keratitis with long-wavelength anterior segment optical coherence tomography (AS-OCT).


Patients with clinically suspected bacterial keratitis were recruited from the corneal service at Southampton Eye Unit, UK. Patients underwent AS-OCT and slit-lamp examination on presentation (day 0) and days 3, 7, and 14 of treatment. Corneal thickness (CT) in the infiltrated area, infiltrate thickness (IT), and infiltrate width (IW) were measured on high-resolution AS-OCT scans. Mean values for each day and rates of change for each interval were calculated and compared (one-way ANOVA, paired t-test).


Twenty-six eyes of 26 patients were recruited. Mean CT and IT on presentation were 905 μm and 388 μm, respectively. On days 3, 7, and 14, CT and IT decreased to 753 μm and 320 μm (P < 0.01), 678 μm and 296 μm (P < 0.01), and 584 μm and 207 μm (P < 0.01), respectively. Mean IW, 1498 μm on presentation, did not change during treatment (P > 0.30). Mean daily rate of CT reduction was faster in the early (days 0-3) compared to late (days 7-14) phase (4.49% vs. 1.33%, P = 0.006). Mean daily rate of IT reduction was no different in early, middle, and late phases (5.41% vs. 1.19% vs. 3.38%, P > 0.01). In the late phase, IT decreased faster than CT (3.38% vs. 1.33%, P = 0.003).


CT and IT decreased significantly by day 3 in resolving bacterial keratitis. The rapid early phase reduction in IT and CT was followed by rapid late phase IT reduction. This study demonstrates that serial AS-OCT examination can be used to monitor in vivo the clinical course of inflammatory disease.

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