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Methods: Corneal scraping was collected from 200 consecutive cases of suspected microbial keratitis and was subjected to direct examination and culture.
Results: Of the 200 ulcers 55% were culture positive, 26.5% were bacterial ulcers of which 47% were due to Staphylococcus spp. Pure fungal growth was seen in 22% while 6% were mixed ulcers. Fusarium spp. (30%) was the most common fungus followed by Aspergillus spp. (21%). Only one case of Acanthamoeba keratitis was encountered. Patients were mainly from rural areas (61.5%) with male preponderance (61.5%). Corneal injury was seen in 78.5% cases of which 53% had injury with vegetative matter. Prior treatment was seen in 58% of which 5% had been treated by village healers. Nineteen patients (9.5%) also used some kind of traditional topical treatment. Increased incidence was seen from August to December. Five case of fugal ulcers lead to perforation of which three were due to Fusarium spp. whereas perforation was seen in only two cases of bacterial ulcers due to Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
Conclusion: Staphylococcus and Fusarium spp. were the most common etiological agents in our region. Predominant outdoor agricultural activity is the principal causative factor for corneal injury. Corneal ulcers complicated due to treatment by village healers are another important concern. The information regarding regional etiology will help empirical management as many eye clinics do not have microbiological facilities.