Retinal imaging is a fundamental tool for clinical and research efforts in the evaluation and management of diabetic retinopathy. Adaptive optics (AO) is an imaging technique that enables correction of over 90% of the optical aberrations of an individual eye induced primarily by the tear film, cornea and lens. The two major tasks of any AO system are to measure the optical imperfections of the eye and to then compensate for these aberrations to generate a corrected wavefront of reflected light from the eye. AO scanning laser ophthalmoscopy (AOSLO) provides a theoretical lateral resolution limit of 1.4 μm, allowing the study of microscopic features of the retinal vascular and neural tissue. AOSLO studies have revealed irregularities of the photoreceptor mosaic, vascular loss, and details of vascular lesions in diabetic eyes that may provide new insight into development, regression, and response to therapy of diabetic eye disease.
PURPOSE: Light scatter results in degradation of visual function. An optical bench model was used to identify the origins of scatter in the setting of a Boston keratoprosthesis (KPro). The effect of various modifications in the device design and light-blocking configurations was explored. METHODS: A KPro was mounted on a contact lens holder on a bench, and forward light scatter was recorded with a camera attached to a rotating goniometer arm. Scattered light was recorded at different angles for different KPro modifications, and the point-spread function (PSF) curves were recorded. The area under the curve (AUC) was calculated for each PSF curve. RESULTS: The isolated KPro optical cylinder in a totally blackened holding lens had a tight PSF (AUC = 3.3). Additional blackening of the walls of the KPro stem did not further diminish forward scatter significantly. If the holding lens is made translucent by sandblasting (to simulate an in vivo carrier cornea) and the KPro is inserted without a backplate, forward scatter is substantial (AUC = 11.3). If a standard backplate (with holes) is added, light scatter is considerably reduced regardless of whether the backplate is made of polymethyl methacrylate or titanium (AUC = 5.3 and 4.4, respectively). Addition of an acrylic intraocular lens behind the KPro (the pseudophakic KPro setup) did not increase scatter. CONCLUSIONS: Most of the scattered light in eyes implanted with a KPro originates from the surrounding hazy corneal graft. The standard addition of a backplate reduces light scatter. There was no difference in forward light scatter between the aphakic and the pseudophakic KPro.
UNLABELLED: Oral delivery of poorly soluble and permeable drugs represents a significant challenge in drug development. The oral delivery of drugs remains to be the ultimate route of any drugs. However, in many cases, drugs are not absorbed well in the gastrointestinal tract, or they lose their activity. Polymer micelles were recognized as an effective carrier system for drug encapsulation, and are now studied as a vehicle for oral delivery of insoluble compounds. We characterized the properties of monomethoxy polyethylene glycol-poly lactic acid (mPEG-PLA) micelles, and visualized their internalization in mouse small intestine. Using Caco-2 cells as a cellular model, we studied the kinetics of particle uptake, their transport, and the molecular mechanism of their intestinal absorption. Moreover, by inhibiting specific endocytosis pathways, pharmacologically and genetically, we found that mPEG-PLA nanoparticle endocytosis is mediated by clathrin in an energy-dependent manner, and that the low-density lipoprotein receptor is involved. FROM THE CLINICAL EDITOR: Many current drugs used are non-water soluble and indeed, the ability to deliver these drugs via the gastrointestinal tract remains the holy grail for many researchers. The authors in this paper developed monomethoxy polyethylene glycol-poly lactic acid (mPEG-PLA) micelles as a drug nanocarrier, and studied the mechanism of uptake across intestinal cells. The findings should improve our current understanding and point to the development of more nanocarriers.
PURPOSE: To evaluate the safety and efficacy of topical tacrolimus 0.05% versus topical methylprednisolone 0.5% in patients with ocular graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). DESIGN: Phase 1/2 prospective, randomized, double-masked clinical trial. PARTICIPANTS: Eighty eyes of 40 patients diagnosed with chronic ocular GVHD were enrolled. METHODS: Forty patients with ocular GVHD were randomized; 24 patients were treated with topical tacrolimus 0.05% and 16 patients were treated with topical methylprednisolone 0.5% twice daily for 10 weeks, in addition to continuing their baseline treatment regimen. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Safety was evaluated based on occurrence of adverse events. Tolerability was assessed based on subject reports of discomfort after drop instillation. Intraocular pressure (IOP) was monitored. The main efficacy end points were corneal fluorescein staining (CFS), tear film break-up time (TBUT), Schirmer test results, and expression of the ocular surface inflammatory markers human leukocyte antigen-DR (HLA-DR) and intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1). Symptoms were evaluated using the Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI). RESULTS: After 10 weeks of treatment, no major adverse events occurred in either treatment group, and there was no significant difference in the composite tolerability scores between the 2 groups (P = 0.06). However, burning sensation was more pronounced with tacrolimus (P = 0.002). Topical tacrolimus was more effective than methylprednisolone in reducing the CFS score at week 10 (55% vs. 23% reduction, respectively; P = 0.01) and achieved significant improvement in TBUT when compared with baseline (P < 0.001). Reduction in OSDI score achieved statistical significance with tacrolimus (27% reduction; P = 0.02), but was marginal with methylprednisolone (32% reduction; P = 0.06). Expression of ICAM-1 by ocular surface epithelium decreased significantly in both groups (tacrolimus, P = 0.003; methylprednisolone, P = 0.008), whereas HLA-DR expression decreased significantly only in the tacrolimus group (P = 0.03). Schirmer test scores did not change significantly in either group during the study; IOP increased significantly with methylprednisolone at week 10 (P = 0.04). CONCLUSIONS: Topical tacrolimus 0.05% is safe, generally well tolerated, and effective for the treatment of ocular GVHD without the hypertensive effects of topical corticosteroids.
Uveitis is a common and serious complication of juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Up to 75% of all cases of anterior uveitis in childhood are associated with juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Despite the remarkable progress in early detection and treatment of inflammation, vision-threatening complications of uveitis still occur in almost 60% of patients. Structural complications include band keratopathy, maculopathy (macular edema, macular cysts, and epiretinal membrane), glaucomatous optic neuropathy, and cataracts. The management of complications in juvenile idiopathic arthritis is usually complex and requires early surgical intervention. In this paper, we review the general concepts of common ocular complications seen in patients with JIA-associated uveitis, with special attention to the recent diagnostic and preferred treatment approaches at the Massachusetts Eye Research and Surgery Institution. Received 9 March 2015; revised 30 September 2015; accepted 30 October 2015; published online 14 January 2016.
PURPOSE: To describe clinical manifestations, diagnostic approaches, therapy, and outcomes of biopsy-proven intraocular lymphoma. METHODS: Review of tertiary referral center records between 2005 and 2015. RESULTS: A total of 51 eyes of 26 patients were included; mean age of onset was 60.42 years. Common ocular complaints included floaters (42%) and blurred vision (35%); 62% of patients had ocular and central nervous system involvement; 11% had systemic lymphoma; and 27% had only ocular involvement. Vitreous analysis was positive for malignant cells in 77% of patients on initial biopsy, and in 100% of patients on repeat biopsy. In total, 20/26 patients received systemic and topical treatment before IOL diagnosis was made; 25 patients received intravitreal methotrexate and/or rituximab; one patient received intracameral rituximab. All patients achieved remission by their final visit. CONCLUSIONS: Intraocular lymphoma often masquerades as intraocular inflammation, resulting in delayed or misdiagnosis with subsequent inappropriate management. Optimal therapy is a challenge for oncologists and ophthalmologists.
Paracrine interactions between epithelial cells and stromal fibroblasts occur during tissue repair, development, and cancer. Crucial to these processes is the production of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) that modify the microenvironment. Here, we demonstrated that the carbohydrate-binding protein galectin-3 stimulated microenvironment remodeling in the cornea by promoting the paracrine action of secreted interleukin-1β (IL-1β). Through live cell imaging in vitro, we observed rapid activation of the promoter in clusters of cultured human epithelial cells after direct heterotypic contact with single primary human fibroblasts. Soluble recombinant galectin-3 and endogenous galectin-3 of epithelial origin both stimulated MMP9 activity through the induction of IL-1β secretion by fibroblasts. In vivo, mechanical disruption of the basement membrane in wounded corneas prompted an increase in the abundance of IL-1β in the stroma and increased the amount of gelatinase activity in the epithelium. Moreover, corneas of galectin-3-deficient mice failed to stimulate IL-1β after wounding. This mechanism of paracrine control has broad importance for our understanding of how the proteolytic microenvironment is modified in epithelial-stromal interactions.
The cornea is an extraordinary component of vision that functions as the principal barrier to pathogens in the eye while allowing light transmission into the retina. Understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms that maintain homeostasis in this tissue is the subject of intense scientific study given the high prevalence of corneal disease. Over the past decade, the interactions between lectins and glycans on plasma membranes have emerged as important regulatory factors in corneal biology. In particular, members of the galectin family have been shown to bind multiple β-galactoside-containing receptors to regulate immunopathological processes associated with viral and bacterial infection, transplantation, wound healing, dry eye, angiogenesis, and lymphangiogenesis. In this review, we describe the current understanding of how these surface interactions intersect with different pathways to activate unique cellular responses in cornea as well as their potential therapeutic implications.
PURPOSE: Drug-induced uveitis is a well-known effect of ocular inflammation that has been reported with many medications. Pembrolizumab is a newer generation of the anti-programmed cell death-1 monoclonal antibodies that was recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of advanced melanoma. Immune-mediated adverse events involving different organs have been reported in recent literature in association with this drug. We present the first reported case of uveitis in association with pembrolizumab therapy. CASE REPORT: An 82-year-old man with stage IV melanoma was started on pembrolizumab infusion treatment every 3 weeks. Two months after initiating therapy, he presented with bilateral severe anterior uveitis and papillitis with fast and complete recovery after withholding further pembrolizumab infusions and treatment with topical steroid. Uveitis recurred after restarting pembrolizumab therapy. CONCLUSIONS: In current clinical practice, many new drugs are being approved, requiring better characterization of the prevalence, onset, and nature of adverse events in order to aid development of effective management strategies. Ophthalmologists should keep in mind that drugs are always a possible cause of ocular inflammation in patients presenting with uveitis.
PURPOSE: To investigate the relationship between meibomian gland (MG) morphology and clinical dry eye tests in patients with meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD). DESIGN: Cross-sectional study. SUBJECTS: Total 538 MGD patients and 21 healthy controls. METHODS: MG loss on meibography images of upper (UL) and lower lids (LL) was graded on a scale of 0 (lowest degree of MG loss) to 3. MG length, thickness, and interglandular space in the UL were measured. Clinical tests included meibum expression and quality, tear film break-up time, ocular staining, osmolarity, Schirmer I, blink interval timing, and Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI) questionnaire. RESULTS: Mean UL and LL meibogrades were significantly higher in MGD patients compared to controls (P < .001 for UL and LL). The sensitivity and specificity of the meibograde as a diagnostic parameter for MGD was 96.7% and 85%, respectively. Schirmer I was significantly increased in MGD patients with meibograde 1 compared to patients with meibograde 0, 2, and 3 in the UL (P < .05). MG thickness increased with higher meibograde (P < .001). MG morphology correlated significantly but weakly with several clinical parameters (P < .05). OSDI did not correlate with any MG morphologic parameter. CONCLUSIONS: Grading of MG loss using meibograde effectively diagnoses MGD. Compensatory mechanisms such as increased aqueous tear production and dilation of MGs make early detection of MGD difficult by standard clinical measures of dry eye, whereas morphologic analysis of MGs reveals an early stage of MGD, and therefore represents a complementary clinical parameter with diagnostic potential.
Therapeutic angiogenesis is an experimental frontier in vascular biology that seeks to deliver angiogenic growth factors to ischemic or injured tissues to promote targeted formation of new blood vessels as an alternative approach to surgical revascularization procedures. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a potent angiogenic signal protein that is locally upregulated at sites of tissue injury. However, therapies aimed at increasing VEGF levels experimentally by injecting VEGF gene or protein failed to improve outcomes in human trials in part due to its short half-life and systemic toxicity. We recently designed a novel 12-amino acid peptide (PR1P) whose sequence was derived from an extracellular VEGF-binding domain of the pro-angiogenic glycoprotein prominin-1. In this study, we characterized the molecular binding properties of this novel potential therapeutic for targeted angiogenesis and provided the foundation for its use as an angiogenic molecule that can potentiate endogenous VEGF. We showed that PR1P bound VEGF directly and enhanced VEGF binding to endothelial cells and to VEGF receptors VEGFR2 and neuropilin-1. PR1P increased angiogenesis in the murine corneal micropocket assay when combined with VEGF, but had no activity without added VEGF. In addition, PR1P also enhanced angiogenesis in murine choroidal neovascularization and wound-healing models and augmented reperfusion in a murine hind-limb ischemia model. Together our data suggest that PR1P enhanced angiogenesis by potentiating the activity of endogenous VEGF. In so doing, this novel therapy takes advantage of endogenous VEGF gradients generated in injured tissues and may improve the efficacy of and avoid systemic toxicity seen with previous VEGF therapies.
High-risk human papilloma virus (HR-HPV) is a well-established causative agent of oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). In addition, HR-HPV has occasionally been reported to be present in dysplastic and malignant lesions of the conjunctiva and lacrimal sac, although its overall incidence and etiological role in periocular SCC are controversial. Sequential surgical samples of 52 combined cases of invasive SCC (I-SCC) and SCC in situ (SCCIS) from 2 periocular sites (conjunctiva and lacrimal sac) diagnosed over a 14-year period (2000 to 2014) were selected for evaluation, and relevant patient characteristics were documented. p16 immunohistochemistry was performed as a screening test. All p16-positive cases were further evaluated for HR-HPV using DNA in situ hybridization (DNA ISH), and a subset was also analyzed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Of 43 ocular surface squamous neoplasias (OSSNs), 30% (n=13; 8 SCCIS and 5 I-SCC cases) were positive for HR-HPV. HPV-positive OSSNs occurred in 8 men and 5 women with a mean age of 60 years (range, 39 to 94 y). HPV type-16 was detected in all conjunctival cases evaluated by PCR. All 5 conjunctival I-SCCs were nonkeratinizing (n=4) or partially keratinizing (n=1) and managed by simple excision. In contrast, HPV-negative conjunctival I-SCCs were predominantly keratinizing (11 keratinizing and 2 nonkeratinizing). Of 9 lacrimal sac I-SCCs (LSSCCs), 66.7% (n=6) were positive for HR-HPV by p16 and DNA ISH; HPV subtypes were HPV-16 (n=5) and HPV-58 (n=1). In addition, 2 p16-positive cases with negative DNA ISH results were HR-HPV positive (HPV-16 and HPV-33) when evaluated by PCR, suggesting that the rate of HR-HPV positivity among the LSSCCs may be as high as 89% (n=8). The combined group of HR-HPV-positive LSSCCs was seen in 4 men and 4 women with a mean age of 60 years (range, 34 to 71 y). Seven of the 8 HPV-positive LSSCCs (87.5%) had a nonkeratinizing or partially keratinizing histomorphology, whereas 1 case (12.5%) was predominantly keratinizing. The presence of HR-HPV in 30% of OSSNs and at least 66.7% of LSSCCs suggests the possibility of an etiologic role for HR-HPV at these sites.
Agarwal A, Agrawal R, Raje D, Testi I, Mahajan S, Gunasekeran DV, Aggarwal K, Murthy SI, Westcott M, Chee S-P, McCluskey P, Ho SL, Teoh S, Cimino L, Biswas J, Narain S, Agarwal M, Mahendradas P, Khairallah M, Jones N, Tugal-Tutkun I, Babu K, Basu S, Carreño E, Lee R, Al-Dhibi H, Bodaghi B, Invernizzi A, Goldstein DA, Herbort CP, Barisani-Asenbauer T, González-López JJ, Androudi S, Bansal R, Moharana B, Esposti SD, Tasiopoulou A, Nadarajah S, Agarwal M, Abraham S, Vala R, Singh R, Sharma A, Sharma K, Zierhut M, Kon OM, Cunningham ET, Kempen JH, Nguyen QD, Pavesio C, Gupta V. Twenty-four Month Outcomes in the Collaborative Ocular Tuberculosis Study (COTS)-1: Defining the "Cure" in Ocular Tuberculosis. Ocul Immunol Inflamm 2020;:1-9.Abstract
PURPOSE: To report the clinical findings, anatomical features, and treatment outcomes in subjects with ocular tuberculosis (OTB) at 24 months in the Collaborative Ocular Tuberculosis Study (COTS)-1. METHODS: Of the 945 subjects included in COTS-1, those who completed a 24-month follow-up after completion of treatment were included. The main outcome measure was a number of patients with treatment failure (TF). RESULTS: 228 subjects (120 males; mean age of 42.82 ± 14.73 years) were included. Most common phenotype of uveitis was posterior ( = 81; 35.53%), and panuveitis ( = 76; 33.33%). Fifty-two patients (22.81%) had TF. On univariable analysis, odds of high TF was observed with bilaterality (OR: 3.46, = .003), vitreous haze (OR: 2.14, = .018), and use of immunosuppressive therapies (OR: 5.45, = .003). However, only bilaterality was significant in the multiple regression model (OR: 2.84; = .02). CONCLUSIONS: Majority of subjects (>75%) achieved cure in the COTS-1 at 24-month follow-up. The concept of "cure" may be a valuable clinical endpoint in trials for OTB.
Inflammatory choroidal neovascular membranes are challenging to diagnose and manage. A number of uveitic entities may be complicated by the development of choroidal neovascularization leading to a decrease in central visual acuity. In conditions such as punctate inner choroidopathy, development of choroidal neovascularization is extremely common and must be suspected in all cases. On the other hand, in patients with conditions such as serpiginous choroiditis, and multifocal choroiditis, it may be difficult to differentiate between inflammatory choroiditis lesions and choroidal neovascularization. Multimodal imaging analysis, including the recently introduced technology of optical coherence tomography angiography, greatly aid in the diagnosis and management of inflammatory choroidal neovascularization. Management of these neovascular membranes consists of anti-vascular growth factor agents, with or without concomitant anti-inflammatory and/or corticosteroid therapy.
PURPOSE: To evaluate corneal nerve and immune cell alterations in Fuchs' endothelial corneal dystrophy (FECD) and pseudophakic bullous keratopathy (PBK) by laser in vivo confocal microscopy (IVCM) as correlated to corneal sensation and endothelial cell loss. DESIGN: Prospective, cross-sectional, controlled study. METHODS: Thirty-three eyes with FECD were compared to 13 eyes with PBK and 17 normal age-matched control eyes at a tertiary referral center. FECD was classified into early (without edema) and late stage (with edema). Corneal IVCM and esthesiometry were performed. Corneal nerve and immune dendritiform cell (DC) alterations were evaluated and correlated to clinical parameters. RESULTS: FECD and PBK eyes showed significantly (P = .001) diminished total nerve length (11.5 ± 1.3 and 2.9 ± 0.7 mm/mm) and number (8.8 ± 1.1 and 2.2 ± 0.4 n/frame), compared to controls (23.3 ± 8.1 mm/mm and 25.9 ± 1.3 n/frame). Decreased nerves corresponded to diminished sensation in FECD (4.9 ± 0.2 cm; R = 0.32; P = .045), compared to controls (5.9 ± 0.04 cm). Early- and late-stage FECD showed significantly reduced total nerve length (13.1 ± 1.4 and 9.9 ± 1.2 mm/mm, respectively) and number (8.2 ± 2.5 and 6.5 ± 2.1 n/frame), compared to controls (P < .001). DC density was significantly increased in FECD (57.8 ± 10.4 cells/mm; P = .01), but not in PBK (47.7 ± 11.6 cells/mm; P = .60) compared to controls (22.5 ± 4.5 cells/mm). A subset of early FECD patients (7/22) demonstrated very high DC density (>100/mm). CONCLUSION: IVCM demonstrates profound diminishment of subbasal corneal nerves in early- and late-stage FECD and in PBK, correlating to decreased sensation. Increased DC density in early FECD demonstrates potential subclinical inflammation. The data suggest that reduction in subbasal nerves and increased immune activation may play a role in the pathophysiology of FECD.
OBJECTIVE: Corneal nerve damage may result in neuropathic corneal pain (NCP). Autologous serum tears (AST) have been shown to results in nerve regeneration and may help alleviate corneal pain. This study aimed to evaluate the efficacy of AST in the treatment of NCP. METHODS: This was a retrospective case-control study. Sixteen patients suffering from severe NCP and no current ocular surface disease were compared to 12 controls. In vivo confocal microscopy (IVCM) (HRT3/RCM; Heidelberg, Germany) of the central corneas was performed bilaterally. Change in pain severity (scale of 0-10), corneal nerve density, tortuosity, reflectivity and presence of beading and microneuromas before and after treatment were recorded. RESULTS: All patients had severe pain of 9.1 ± 0.2 (range 8-10). Before treatment, subbasal nerves were significantly decreased compared to controls, including total nerve length (10,935.5 ± 1264.3 vs. 24,714.4 ± 1056.2 μm/mm; p < 0.0001) and total number of nerves (10.5 ± 1.4 vs. 28.6 ± 2.0; p < 0.0001), respectively. Morphologically, significantly increased reflectivity (2.9 ± 0.2 vs. 1.2 ± 0.1; p = 0.00008) and tortuosity (2.4 ± 0.2 vs. 1.7 ± 0.1; p = 0.001), both graded on a scale of 0-4, were noted. After 3.8 ± 0.5 months (range 1-8 months) of AST treatment, pain severity decreased to 3.1 ± 0.3 (range 0-4), (p < 0.0001). Further, IVCM demonstrated a significant improvement (p < 0.005) in total nerve length (17,351.3 ± 1395.6 μm/mm) and number (15.1 ± 1.6) as well as significant decrease in reflectivity (2.4 ± 0.2; p = 0.001) and tortuosity (2.2 ± 0.2; p = 0.001). CONCLUSION: IVCM demonstrates underlying alterations of the subbasal corneal nerve plexus in patients suffering from debilitating NCP. AST-induced nerve regeneration is seen following treatment with AST, which correlates with improvement in patient symptoms of NCP.
PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to report the clinical, imaging, and histopathological findings of bilateral, conjunctival adult-onset xanthogranulomas that raised the prospect of a mild form of Erdheim-Chester disease. METHODS: This is a case report. RESULTS: A 35-year-old white male complaining of ocular irritation, presented with bilateral, nasal and temporal, yellow, elevated conjunctival lumps first noticed 1.5 years back, which were not associated with other ocular findings. The lesions were firm, attached to the underlying episclera, and measured 1.1 × 0.9, 1.1 × 0.8, 1.2 × 0.5, and 0.5 × 0.5 cm in the temporal and nasal right and left eyes, respectively. Each mass was fleshy with vascularity at the peripheral margin. Histopathologic evaluation after excisional biopsy revealed lipidized xanthoma cells, multiple Touton giant cells, and lymphocytes. Immunohistochemical staining was positive for adipophilin (lipid), CD68, CD163 histiocytes, CD3 T cells (with CD8 cytotoxic T cells > CD4 T-helper cells), and virtually no CD20 B cells or IgG4 plasma cells. The patient later acquired similar xanthogranulomatous subcutaneous lesions on the extremities. Positron emission tomography scans showed sclerosis in the medullary cavities of the tibia and the radius of both legs and arms, and an absence of retroperitoneal lesions. A normal serum immunoelectrophoresis and the absence of a BRAF gene mutation were demonstrated. CONCLUSIONS: Adult-onset xanthogranuloma can present as a solitary conjunctival mass without periocular or orbital involvement. The clinical, histopathologic, and radiologic findings in this case are suggestive of Erdheim-Chester disease without displaying any life-threatening lesions to date. Histopathologic and imaging studies can help in obtaining a diagnosis. Ophthalmologists should be aware that xanthogranulomatous conditions may have potential systemic implications, and a thorough systemic evaluation is recommended for lesions that initially seemed to be isolated in nature.
PURPOSE: To evaluate corneal immune dendritiform cell (DC) changes in dry eye disease (DED) using in vivo confocal microscopy (IVCM) and to correlate IVCM parameters with clinical severity. METHODS: This was a retrospective, cross-sectional study including 300 eyes of 150 DED patients and 49 eyes of 49 age-matched controls. Severity of DED was based on the Dry Eye Workshop (DEWS) classification. IVCM images of subbasal layer of the central cornea were analyzed for DC density and morphology (including number of dendrites per DC, DC size and DC field). RESULTS: DC density was significantly higher in DED compared to controls (93.4 ± 6.3 vs. 25.9 ± 3.9 cells/mm; P < 0.001). Morphologically, number of dendrites, DC size and field were significantly larger in DED (3.3 ± 0.1, 106.9 ± 4.7 μm, 403.8 ± 20.1 μm than controls (2.3 ± 0.1, 62.5 ± 5.7 μm, 241.4 ± 24.4 μm, P < 0.001). Significantly higher DC density compared to controls was observed as early as Level 1 DED severity (87 ± 10 cells/mm, p < 0.001. Significant morphological changes in DC were detected for Levels 2 to 4 (p=<0.001, and p =< 0.05) for dendrites and DC field, respectively. Similarly, DC size showed significant increase at DED level 3-4. (p < 0.05). Linear regression analysis showed that both conjunctival and corneal staining were independently associated with DC density, while corneal staining was independently associated with DC morphology. CONCLUSION: DC density and morphology correlated with clinical severity of DED. While, DC density is increased in mild DED, morphological changes are seen only in severe cases. IVCM may be a powerful tool to detect early immune changes and may complement clinical examination in DED.
PURPOSE: Corneal infections, particularly fungal keratitis due to rare fungal species, pose a diagnostic and therapeutic challenge because of difficulty in identification and varying susceptibility profiles. In this study, we report the first case of fungal keratitis because of Exophiala phaeomuriformis. METHODS: We report the clinical findings and microbial identification techniques of a case of fungal keratitis due to E. phaeomuriformis. An 84-year-old woman presented with redness, pain, and itching in the left eye for 2 weeks. Slit-lamp biomicroscopy revealed one broken suture from previous penetrating keratoplasty (PKP), black infiltrates at the 4-o'clock position, without an overlying epithelial defect and hypopyon. Microbial identification was based cultures on Sabouraud dextrose agar and DNA sequencing and correlations to laser in vivo confocal microscopy (IVCM; Heidelberg Retinal Tomograph 3/Rostock Cornea Module, Heidelberg Engineering) and multiphoton microscopy (Ultima Microscope; Prairie Technologies) images. RESULTS: Slit-lamp biomicroscopy revealed one broken suture from previous PKP, black infiltrates at the 4-o'clock position, without an overlying epithelial defect and hypopyon. Based on a clinical suspicion of fungal keratitis, antifungals and fortified antibiotics were started. However, the patient did not respond to therapy and required urgent PKP. After surgery, the patient was maintained on topical and systemic voriconazole and also topical 2% cyclosporine for 5 months because of possibility of scleral involvement noticed during surgery. At the end of the treatment period, her vision improved from hand motion to 20/40, with no recurrence observed in a follow-up period of 1 year. Results of diagnostic tests were supported by fungal elements in stroma on IVCM. Culture from the infiltrate grew black yeast. DNA sequencing led to the diagnosis of E. phaeomuriformis keratitis. Antifungal susceptibility testing revealed sensitivity to voriconazole. CONCLUSION: This is, to our knowledge, the first reported case of E. phaeomuriformis fungal keratitis. Diagnostic testing included slit-lamp biomicroscopy, which revealed pigmented infiltrates, culture plates grew black yeast, microscopy showed branched fungal hyphae with budding conidia, and physiological features showed tolerance to high temperatures, nitrate assimilation, and ribosomal DNA sequencing. Collectively, these tests demonstrate unique features seen for this microorganism. High suspicion should be kept with pigmented infiltrates and with dark yeast on culture plates. Prompt and aggressive medical management with voriconazole or therapeutic PKP in nonresponsive cases is essential to prevent irreversible loss of vision.