Microbial Keratitis After LASIK

With LASIK, the surgeon uses a microkeratome to create a flap. When extraneous matter gets under the flap, severe infection can occur. Sometimes this can be treated, and sometimes not, resulting in blindness.

Unilateral Fungal and Mycobacterial Keratitis After Simultaneous Laser In Situ Keratomileusis

Cornea 2003; 22(1):72-75

Mona Pache, M.D.; Isac Schipper, M.D.; Josef Flammer, M.D.; Peter Meyer, M.D.

Purpose: To report a case of unilateral fungal and mycobacterial keratitis after simultaneous laser in situ keratomileusis (LASIK).

Methods: Case report of a 37-year-old woman who developed corneal infiltrates located at the flap-stroma interface in her left eye 3 weeks after LASIK for myopia. The infiltration progressed despite topical antibiotic therapy; therefore, the flap was lifted and irrigated with antibiotic solution. Parallel corneal scrapings were taken. The patient's condition deteriorated, prompting a lamellar keratoplasty. (Full cornea transplant.)

Results: Corneal scrapings demonstrated no growth. Microbiologic cultures of the corneal specimen were reported as negative, whereas histopathologic examination disclosed fungal filaments. Two months later, the patient presented corneal infiltrates of the left eye again. Because the situation worsened despite therapy, a penetrating keratoplasty was performed. Histopathologic examination of the host cornea revealed no pathogenic species; microbiologic cultures, however, demonstrated Mycobacterium chelonae.

Conclusion: Fungi and M. chelonae are rare and insidious causes of infectious keratitis after LASIK. Our case emphasizes the possible difficulties in diagnosing and treating a combined or subsequent infection with both species.