Ocul Surf. 2021 Dec 13:S1542-0124(21)00140-3. doi: 10.1016/j.jtos.2021.12.001. Online ahead of print.
Infectious keratitis is a significant cause of corneal blindness worldwide. Although less prevalent in the developed world, cases of fungal keratitis account for almost half of all keratitis cases, occurring in the developing countries. These cases are one of the most refractory types of infectious keratitis and present various challenges to the treating physician such as delayed presentation, long waiting time for culture positivity, limited availability effective antifungal drugs, prolonged duration for response to therapy, a highly variable spectrum of anti-fungal drug sensitivity and a high recurrence rate following keratoplasty. The advent of rapid diagnostic tools, molecular methods, in vitro anti-fungal drug sensitivity testing, alternatives to natamycin, targeted drug delivery and most importantly the results of large randomized controlled trials have significantly improved our understanding and approach towards the diagnosis and management of cases with fungal keratitis. Overall, Aspergillus and Fusarium species are the most common causes ones of fungal keratitis. History of antecedent trauma is a significant predisposing factor. Corneal scrapings for microscopic evaluation and culture preparation, is the standard of care for establishing the diagnosis of fungal keratitis. Molecular identification of cultures offers accurate identification of fungal pathogens, especially the rare species. Natamycin is an approved first-line drug. Voriconazole is the best alternative, especially for non-fusarium cases. Management involves administration of drugs usually by a combination of various routes, the treatment regimen being individualized depending upon the response to therapy. Photodynamic therapy is a newer treatment modality, being tried for non-responsive cases, before resorting to a therapeutic graft.