To determine the effectiveness of laser confocal microscopy in detecting filamentous fungi in the cornea of patients with fungal keratitis (FK) and in evaluating the effectiveness of the treatment.
The corneas of 6 patients clinically diagnosed with FK were examined with the Heidelberg Retina Tomograph II-Rostock Cornea Module (HRT II-RCM). Three of these patients were also monitored periodically with the HRT II-RCM after antifungal treatment.
The HRT II-RCM examination showed interlocking and branching, white, septated, hyphae-like lines in the cornea of all patients. All 6 patients had positive corneal smears and/or laboratory cultures. Three patients were monitored with HRT II-RCM after antifungal treatment. One patient, whose initial smear was negative, was diagnosed by HRT II-RCM before the positive culture results. In another case, the epithelial regeneration was impaired even 3 weeks after the initial treatment and HRT II-RCM revealed a mass of hyphae in the corneal ulcerated lesion. These findings indicated the necessity of surgical debridement. After the surgical debridement, the corneal epithelial defect was healed. HRT II-RCM was able to detect the morphological changes of hyphae after antifungal treatment and helped in the treatment modifications during the clinical course in all 3 patients.
These results indicate that HRT II-RCM can be used to diagnose FK and to monitor the effect of therapy on FK.
From the *Departments of Ophthalmology; †Ophthalmology and Regenerative Medicine; ‡Cell Growth and Tumor Regulation; and §Infectious Diseases, Ehime University Graduate School of Medicine, Shitsukawa, Toon, Ehime, Japan.
Received for publication October 6, 2009; revision received November 19, 2009, 2009; accepted November 26, 2009.
Financial support: None.
Reprints: Atsushi Shiraishi, Department of Ophthalmology and Regenerative Medicine, Ehime University Graduate School of Medicine, Shitsukawa, Toon, Ehime 791-0295, Japan (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).