Bacterial keratitis: perspective on epidemiology, clinico-pathogenesis, diagnosis and treatment.
ABSTRACT Bacterial keratitis is an acute or chronic, transient or recurrent infection of the cornea with varying predilection for anatomical and topographical parts of the cornea like marginal or central. It is a potentially sight-threatening corneal infection in humans that is generally found in eyes with predisposing elements, the most common of which is contact lens wear. The epidemiological data reveals the universal occurrence of this disease. With advances in the understanding of its pathogenesis, laboratory investigations like immunohistochemistry, fluorescent microscopy, enzyme immunoassays and molecular biology, and the availability of fourth generation antibiotics, the overall visual outcome in bacterial keratitis has improved with time. Particular attention should be given to this condition as it can progress very rapidly with complete corneal destruction occurring within 24-48 hours. Early diagnosis, which is primarily clinical and substantiated largely by microbiological data, and prompt treatment are needed to minimise the possibility of permanent visual loss and reduce structural damage to the cornea.