Nontuberculous Mycobacterial Infection After Clear Corneal Phacoemulsification Cataract Surgery: A Report of 13 Cases

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Purpose:To review the patient profile, clinical presentation, management, and outcomes of nontuberculous mycobacterial (NTM) infection after clear corneal phacoemulsification.Methods:Review of consecutive cases diagnosed with NTM infection after phacoemulsification from 2004 to 2009. Demographic data, clinical characteristics, diagnosis, treatment, and outcomes were analyzed.Results:Thirteen eyes of 13 patients with mean age of 61.1 years, consisting of 7 men and 6 women were included. Twelve of 13 eyes (92%) underwent uncomplicated clear cornea phacoemulsification with posterior lens implant. Mean interval from surgery to onset of symptoms was 6.3 weeks, and time to referral ranged from 2 days to 9 months. Ten eyes (77%) presented with stromal wound abscess, whereas 3 (23%) appeared as iridocyclitis with posterior capsule plaques. Five eyes were clustered while the rest were isolated cases. All cases were culture positive for NTM. Two cases were treated medically, 3 had removal of lens implant and capsule, and 8 had penetrating keratoplasty with or without removal of lens implant, iridectomy, and/or pars plana vitrectomy. After a mean follow-up of almost 22 months, best-corrected visual acuity of 20/40 or better was achieved in half of the cases (54%). One case of recurrence was noted.Conclusions:NTM infection should be suspected in patients presenting with corneal stromal wound abscess or iridocyclitis with posterior capsular plaques 6 to 7 weeks after phacoemulsification. Early diagnosis and treatment can lead to good outcomes, and management should include a combination of medical and surgical therapies.

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