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Eye (Lond). 2017 Oct;31(10):1427-1434. doi: 10.1038/eye.2017.82. Epub 2017 May 19.

Fungal keratitis in the Republic of Ireland.

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Department of Ophthalmology, Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital, Dublin, Ireland.
Department of Ophthalmology, Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland.
Department of Ophthalmology, Cork University Hospital, Cork, Ireland.
Department of Microbiology, Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital, Dublin, Ireland.


PurposeFungal keratitis is relatively rare in temperate climates with only one previous population-based study, which reported a minimum annual incidence of 0.32 per million population in the United Kingdom. We performed a nationwide study in the Republic of Ireland of cases over a 6-year period to establish the incidence, risk factors, treatment, and outcomes of fungal keratitis.Patients and methodsAll corneal scraping specimens positive for fungal species over a 6-year period were identified at the microbiology departments of the seven main ophthalmology units in the Republic of Ireland. Census data was used to establish national minimum annual incidence.ResultsForty-two eyes were treated for confirmed fungal keratitis during the 6-year period. This resulted in a minimum incidence of 1.53 cases per million population per year. Twenty-eight of 42 cases (67%) were due to filamentary fungi, with the most common species being Aspergillus. Pre-existing ocular surface disease was the most common risk factor constituting 42.9%; 26.2% underwent keratoplasty. No eyes underwent evisceration. Two eyes resulted in a level of vision of no perception of light. The mean LogMAR acuity in the remainder of cases was 0.89 with a range from -0.10 to 4.00.ConclusionThis study demonstrates a much higher minimum annual incidence than previously reported. The causative organism is highly related to risk factor. The range of visual outcomes remains broad in all subgroups. The wide range of outcomes and treatments used highlights the need for better evidence-based guidelines for fungal keratitis.

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