Article Text


Empirical treatment of bacterial keratitis: an international survey of corneal specialists


Background/aims New antibiotic agents and changing susceptibility patterns may have changed the empirical treatment of bacterial keratitis. Our objective in this study was to survey cornea specialists’ practice patterns in the initial treatment of bacterial ulcers.

Methods This study consisted of a short online survey emailed to members of the Cornea Society listserv for an international sample of cornea specialists. Data collection began July 2014 and ended October 2014.

Results A total of 1009 surveys were emailed, and we received 140 (14%) responses. The majority of US clinicians surveyed (n=83, 80%) chose fortified antibiotics empirically, with 55% (n=57) selecting fortified vancomycin and 16% (n=17) using fluoroquinolone alone. International respondents were twice as likely to use fluoroquinolone monotherapy (31%, n=11, p=0.07) and less likely to use fortified vancomycin (33%, n=12, p=0.03). Forty-five per cent (n=46) of US respondents reported that their initial antibiotic choice covered methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, compared with 22% (n=8) of international respondents (p<0.01). Overall, respondents who were concerned about availability of antibiotics and toxicity were 20.86 (p<0.001) and 7.48 (p<0.001) times more likely to choose fluoroquinolone monotherapy, respectively. If respondents’ primary considerations were broad spectrum coverage or antibiotic resistance they had 7.10 (p<0.001) and 12.51 (p<0.001) times the odds of using fortified vancomycin, respectively.

Conclusion Practice patterns for the initial treatment of bacterial keratitis vary with clinicians in the USA being more likely to use fortified antibiotics versus fluoroquinolone monotherapy and more concerned with resistant organisms than their international peers.

  • Cornea
  • Infection

This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.