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Abstract

Introduction: Infectious keratitis is caused by inflammation of the cornea from an infectious pathogen that usually results in corneal scarring. It is a major cause of visual impairment globally. The management of infectious keratitis is challenging, and unfortunately, there is no proper study on this issue in the central zone of Sarawak to date.

Purpose: To identify the demographic characteristics, risk factors, and etiological agents of patients with infectious keratitis in Sibu Hospital, Sarawak, Malaysia.

Design of the study: Retrospective study.

Materials and methods: Data were collected and reviewed from medical records of all patients with infectious keratitis in Sibu Hospital from January 2013 up to May 2018.

Results: A total of 139 patients (143 eyes/cases) were included in the study. The average age of affected individuals was 47.39 years. The most frequently affected patients fell within the age group of 21-30 years (18.9%). The male-to-female ratio was 1.65:1, with 61.5% of patients being males and 38.5% being females. Seventy-four cases were noted to have predisposing factors before the manifestation of symptoms. The commonest predisposing factors were ocular trauma (55.4%), followed by contact lens wear (29.7%), recent ocular surgery (13.5%), and a recent history of swimming (7.4%). At least one pathogen was isolated in 63.1% of the 38 cases that were tested for corneal scraping culture and sensitivity. Pseudomonas aeruginosa was identified as the most common causative pathogen in our study.

Conclusion: Ocular injury stood out as the most common risk factor for infectious keratitis in this study and Pseudomonas aeruginosa was the most common etiological pathogen. A good grasp of local epidemiology and microbial profile of infectious keratitis is essential in aiding and guiding the management of infectious keratitis in hopes of better outcomes for all affected patients.