By Prashant Garg, MS; Savitri Sharma, MD; Geeta K. Vemuganti, MD; Balasubramanya Ramamurthy, MD



PURPOSE: To report a cluster of Nocardia asteroides keratitis cases after LASIK.


METHODS: Retrospective review of the history and examination of three patients (four eyes) operated on the same day at a single center who developed postoperative keratitis. All patients underwent lifting of the superficial flap for microbiologic evaluation of the corneal scrapings. The operating surgeon was contacted to identify the possible source of contamination.


RESULTS: Two patients underwent simultaneous bilateral LASIK; however, only one developed postoperative keratitis in both eyes. One patient had unilateral surgery and developed keratitis in the operated eye. Microscopic examination of smears from all eyes revealed thin, branching, acid-fast, filamentous bacteria that were identified as Nocardia asteroides after culture. The infiltrates resolved with topical administration of amikacin sulphate (2.5%) and topical and oral trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole. Final visual acuity ranged between 20/25 and 20/80. The operating surgeon had used the same blade and microkeratome in all patients.


CONCLUSIONS: Nocardia, a relatively unusual organism, can cause an epidemic of infection after LASIK. [J Refract Surg. 2007;23:309-312.]