Microbial keratitis is a severe infection of the cornea. Risk factors for infection include trauma (generally with plant material), chronic ocular surface diseases, immunodeficiencies, and rarely, contact lens use (1--3). An estimated 30 million persons in the United States wear soft contact lenses; the annual incidence of microbial keratitis is estimated to be 4--21 per 10,000 soft contact lens users, depending on whether users wear lenses overnight (4). Fungal keratitis is a condition more prevalent in warm climates; in the southernmost United States, up to 35% of microbial keratitis cases are fungal keratitis, compared with 1% in New York (5,6). In the first quarter of 2006 there were a number of patients that were diagnosed with fusarium keratitis who had used B & L ReNu contact lens solution (6). The proportion of fungal keratitis attributable to Fusarium spp. also varies by region, from 25% to 62% (1,2,5). First-line treatment includes topical and oral antifungal medications; patients who do not respond to medical treatment usually require surgical intervention, including corneal transplantation (3). Fusarium keratitis is not transmitted from person to person.
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- Poggio EC, Glynn RJ, Schein OD, et al. The incidence of ulcerative keratitis among users of daily-wear and extended-wear soft contact lenses. N Engl J Med 1989;321:779--83.
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- MA Barry, MD, J Pendarvis, MPH, Boston Public Health Commission, et al. Fusarium Keratitis --- Multiple States, 2006 CDC Dispatch April 10, 2006