Prompt diagnosis and treatment of corneal infections are crucial in avoiding permanent impairment of vision. The diagnosis of any type of infectious ker-atitis essentially includes the following steps:
❖ Identifying the pathogen and testing its resistance. This is done by taking a smear from the base of the ulcer to obtain sample material and inoculating culture media for bacteria and fungi. Wearers of contact lenses should also have cultures taken from the lenses to ensure that they are not the source of the bacteria or fungus.
❖ Slides of smears, unstained and treated with Gram and Giemsa stains, are examined to detect bacteria.
❖ Where a viral infection is suspected, testing corneal sensitivity is indicated as this will be diminished in viral keratitis.
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