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June 1985

Contamination of Corneal Tissue From Infected Donors

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Ophthalmology, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle.

Arch Ophthalmol. 1985;103(6):802-804. doi:10.1001/archopht.1985.01050060062026

• Thirty-two corneas with scleral rims were cultured from the eyes of 17 cadavers that harbored systemic infection at the time of death. Twelve (71%) of 17 cadavers demonstrated corneal contamination from one or both corneas. Eleven (92%) of 12 donors with positive postmortem blood cultures had positive corneal cultures from at least one eye. Six of these 12 had the same organism isolated from both the blood and corneal tissue. Bacterial corneal cultures were negative in the five donors with negative postmortem blood cultures. Control cultures were obtained from 19 eyes of ten donors without evidence of infection at death. Four (21%) of 19 control eyes yielded Staphylococcus epidermidis. There was a significantly higher incidence of corneal contamination in donors who died with systemic infections. Eye banks should continue to screen donors carefully for documented or suspected sepsis in an effort to reduce the incidence of postkeratoplasty infections.

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