Patients with acute microbial keratitis (MK) who had a corneal transplant or will eventually need one report worse visual function and difficulties in their daily lives compared with patients with less severe cases of MK, a study published online in Cornea reports.

Researchers from Michigan based their findings on the self-reported results of individuals who filled out the National Eye Institute Visual Function Questionnaire. Using the Sight Outcomes Research Collaborative ophthalmology electronic health record repository, the study identified patients with MK and controls who completed the questionnaire within seven days of their appointment.

In total, 916 questionnaires were completed. These included 84 patients with acute MK, 30 with non-acute MK, 21 MK patients who had a corneal transplant, 528 controls seen in a satellite comprehensive ophthalmology clinic and 253 controls who were treated at a subspecialty ophthalmology clinic.

The approximate questionnaire scores per group were:

  • Acute MK: 66.6
  • Non-acute MK: 78.1
  • MK patients who had a corneal transplant: 58.6
  • Controls seen at the comprehensive clinic: 88.0
  • Controls treated at a subspecialty clinic: 83.5

As seen from the trend in scores, patients with acute MK and those who required a transplant reported significantly worse function than individuals with non-acute MK and those who went to a comprehensive or specialty clinic.

Additionally, patients with non-acute MK reported significantly worse function than the controls who were seen at the comprehensive ophthalmology clinic.

“Patients with acute microbial keratitis, especially those with more severe forms of keratitis, report much worse function in their daily activities,” says researcher Maria A. Woodward, MD, MSc, associate professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the University of Michigan and strategic director of the Kellogg Eye Center for eHealth.

Capturing quality of life metrics allows clinicians to individualize care by understanding a patient’s health from their perspective, which could help providers tailor management and treatments based on the patient’s reported functional limitations, the study noted.

Tuohy MM, Niziol LM, Mian SI, et al. Patient reported outcomes in microbial keratitis. Cornea. June 1, 2020. [Epub ahead of print]..