The purpose of this study was to predict visual acuity (VA) 90 days after presentation for patients with microbial keratitis (MK) from data at the initial clinical ophthalmic encounter.
Patients with MK were identified in the electronic health record between August 2012 and February 2021. Random forest (RF) models were used to predict 90-day VA < 20/40 [visual impairment (VI)]. Predictors evaluated included age, sex, initial VA, and information documented in notes at presentation. Model diagnostics are reported with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for area under the curve (AUC), misclassification rate, sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV), and negative predictive value (NPV).
One thousand seven hundred ninety-one patients were identified. The presenting logMAR VA was on average 0.86 (Snellen equivalent and standard deviation = 20/144 ± 12.6 lines) in the affected or worse eye, and 43.6% with VI. VI at 90-day follow-up was present in the affected eye or worse eye for 26.9% of patients. The RF model for predicting 90-day VI had an AUC of 95% (CI: 93%–97%) and a misclassification rate of 9% (7%–12%). The percent sensitivity, specificity, PPV, and NPV were 86% (80%–91%), 92% (89%–95%), 81% (74%–86%), and 95% (92%–97%), respectively. Older age, worse presenting VA, and more mentions of “penetrating keratoplasty” and “bandage contact lens” were associated with increased probability of 90-day VI, whereas more mentions of “quiet” were associated with decreased probability of 90-day VI.
RF modeling yielded good sensitivity and specificity to predict VI at 90 days which could guide clinicians about the risk of poor vision outcomes for patients with MK.