Corneal Superinfection in Acute Hemorrhagic Conjunctivitis

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This study aimed to evaluate the clinical profile, microbial spectrum, management modalities, and visual outcome in cases of corneal superinfection that occurred after an epidemic of acute hemorrhagic conjunctivitis.


A retrospective analysis of 14 eyes of 13 patients who were referred to a tertiary eye-care center with corneal ulceration after an episode of acute hemorrhagic conjunctivitis was undertaken. The parameters analyzed were age, sex, prior use of topical medications, predisposing factors, ulcer characteristics, organisms isolated, success of medical therapy and surgery, and visual outcome.


A definite history of topical corticosteroid use to treat acute hemorrhagic conjunctivitis was elicited in 12 (86%) eyes. Cultures were positive in 86% (12/14) eyes. Organisms isolated were Pseudomonas aeruginosa (three eyes, 25%), Fusarium species (three eyes, 25%), Aspergillus species (two eyes, 16%), and Staphylococcus aureus (two eyes, 16%). Mixed infection occurred in two patients. After discontinuation of topical corticosteroids, all patients received antimicrobial therapy. The keratitis resolved in seven eyes. Therapeutic penetrating keratoplasty was required in five eyes. Two patients were lost to follow-up.


Corneal superinfection may occur after acute hemorrhagic conjunctivitis. Use of topical corticosteroids to treat acute hemorrhagic conjunctivitis may predispose an already compromised cornea to develop microbial keratitis and such a practice should be discouraged.

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