Microbial Keratitis in Patients with Stevens-Johnson Syndrome and Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis: Experience from a Tertiary Centre in Taiwan

Tsung Ying Tsai, Doyodmaa Adiyabazar, Ching Hsi Hsiao, Li Yen Pan, Shin Yi Chen, Yueh Ju Tsai, Chun Bing Chen, Wen Hung Chung, David Hui Kang Ma*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review


Purpose:The purpose of this study was to analyze the clinical features, causative microorganisms, antibiotic susceptibility, and treatment outcomes in culture-proven microbial keratitis (MK) in patients with Stevens-Johnson syndrome/toxic epidermal necrolysis (SJS/TEN) and to analyze the potential risk factors.Methods:We reviewed the medical records of all patients with SJS/TEN who attended our department between 2009 and 2018. Patients with a diagnosis of MK who underwent corneal cultures were enrolled. Demographics; clinical characteristics including ocular findings, treatment, time between onset of SJS/TEN and keratitis; changes in visual acuity; culture results; and antibiotic susceptibility were analyzed. Culture results from prior conjunctival swabs and keratitis were also compared.Results:Sixteen eyes from 12 patients (mean age 40.1 ± 27.7 years) with MK were identified. These patients had the most severe ocular involvement in the acute stage and had more severe ocular complications (SOCs) in the chronic stage compared with patients with SJS/TEN without MK. There were 26 infection episodes during 4.4 ± 6.9 (1.0-25.8) years of follow-up. Oral nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs accounted for half of the causative drugs. Severe dry eye was the most common predisposing factor, followed by topical steroid use, trichiasis, and lid margin keratinization. Staphylococcus was the most common pathogen, and over half of the gram-positive bacteria were resistant to oxacillin/methicillin. Fungal infections (notably Candida) accounted for nearly one-third of the causative microorganisms. Culture reports from periodic conjunctival swabs were not consistent with those from corneal scrapings. Recurrence of infection was associated with inferior visual outcome.Conclusions:Patients with SJS/TEN with SOCs are subject to recurrent corneal infections, which are responsible for deterioration of vision. Identifying the risk factors and aggressive treatment as early as possible is pivotal for infection control.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-73
Number of pages8
Issue number1
StatePublished - 01 01 2023

Bibliographical note

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  • Stevens-Johnson syndrome
  • amniotic membrane transplantation
  • dry eye
  • microbial keratitis
  • toxic epidermal necrolysis
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Taiwan/epidemiology
  • Young Adult
  • Keratitis/diagnosis
  • Adolescent
  • Stevens-Johnson Syndrome/complications
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Child
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents/therapeutic use


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