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October 1997

Mycobacterium chelonae Keratitis After Excimer Laser Photorefractive Keratectomy

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences (Drs Brancato, Carones, and Venturi) and Microbiology (Drs Cavallero and Gesu), Scientific Institute San Raffaele Hospital, University of Milan, Milan, Italy. None of the authors has any financial or proprietary interest in the materials described in this article.

Arch Ophthalmol. 1997;115(10):1316-1318. doi:10.1001/archopht.1997.01100160486019

This is the first report of a severe case of Mycobacterium chelonae keratitis; it occurred in a 26-year-old man after he had undergone excimer laser photorefractive keratectomy for the correction of severe myopia, once the epithelium was already healed. The diagnosis was made by culture results and acid-fast staining of corneal scrapings. Topical ciprofloxacin sodium, 0.3 mg/mL, plus amikacin sodium, 10 mg/mL, and oral clarithromycin sodium led to remission of the ulceration after 3 months of therapy. Subsequent topical corticosteroid therapy led to complete visual recovery during 1 year of follow-up. There may be an increased risk of severe keratitis during the first postoperative months in eyes that have already undergone photorefractive keratectomy, due to the presence of some microepithelial defects symptomatically negative and not easily detectable by slit-lamp examination.