Ocular mycoses: infections of the eye caused by fungi

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Authors

  • Richard Armstrong
  • Maryam Mousavi

Research units

Abstract

Fungi are ubiquitous organisms in nature and can be found in association with healthy eyes. The incidence of actual fungal infection of the eye, however, is relatively low compared with that attributable to viruses and bacteria. Nevertheless, fungal infection of the eye is increasing especially in immuno-compromised patients and a wide variety of fungal infections have now been described worldwide with species of Fusarium, Aspergillus, Candida, and dematiaceous fungi predominating. At present there are a limited number of compounds available to control ocular mycoses while resistance to anti-fungal agents has been growing in recent years, especially to azoles. Several mechanisms of resistance have been identified including modification of sterol synthesis pathways by the fungus, modification of enzymes to reduce the binding of azoles to fungal components and increased efficiency of removal of the azole within fungal cells. Although resistance to amphotericin-B has been reported, it continues to be the most important treatment for life-threatening conditions and more severe ophthalmic infections. Natamycin is often first choice for filamentous fungal keratitis and topical amphotericin-B for Candida keratitis. Continued monitoring of the behaviour of ocular fungi will be essential in future together with the development of new anti-fungal agents.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-53
Number of pages6
JournalOptometry Today
Volume52
Issue number9
Early online date4 May 2012
Publication statusPublished - 4 May 2012

    Keywords

  • ocular mycoses, eye, infection, treatment

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