Topical corticosteroids as adjunctive therapy for bacterial keratitis

Olan Suwan-apichon, J. M. Reyes, S. Herretes, S. S. Vedula, R. S. Chuck

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Background: Bacterial keratitis is a serious ocular infectious disease that can lead to severe visual disability. Risk factors for bacterial corneal infection include contact lens wear, ocular surface disease, corneal trauma and previous ocular or eyelid surgery. Topical antibiotics constitute the mainstay of treatment in cases of bacterial keratitis where as the use of topical corticosteroids remains controversial. Topical corticosteroids are usually used to control inflammation using the smallest amount of the drug. Their use requires optimal timing, concomitant antibiotics and careful follow up. Objectives: The objective of the review was to assess the clinical effectiveness and adverse effects of corticosteroids as adjunctive therapy for bacterial keratitis. Search strategy: We searched CENTRAL, MEDLINE, EMBASE, and LILACS up to 15 January 2007. We also searched the Science Citation Index to identify additional studies that had cited the included trial, an online database of ongoing trials (, reference lists of included trials, earlier reviews and the American Academy of Ophthalmology guidelines. We also contacted experts to identify any unpublished and ongoing randomized trials. Selection criteria: We included randomized controlled trials evaluating adjunctive therapy with topical corticosteroids in people with bacterial keratitis. Data collection and analysis: Two review authors independently screened all the retrieved articles. Methodological quality of the one included trial was assessed using forms developed using pre-specified criteria by at least two review authors. We planned to extract data on outcomes using forms developed for the purpose. We planned to report risk ratios for dichotomous outcomes and mean differences for continuous outcomes. Main results: A single trial was eligible for inclusion in the review. Participants in the trial were randomized using a random numbers table. Allocation concealment was not attempted. Masking of participants, and care-providers was also not attempted. Outcome assessment was conducted independently by two physicians. Neither was masked to the treatment allocation. The trial reported the healing rate of epithelial defects and improvement in visual acuity. Authors' conclusions: There are no good quality randomized trials evaluating the effects of adjunct use of topical corticosteroids in bacterial keratitis. The only randomized trial we identified in the literature suffered from major methodological inadequacies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberCD005430
JournalCochrane Database of Systematic Reviews
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Adrenal cortex hormones [*therapeutic use]
  • Chemotherapy, adjuvant [methods]
  • Eye infections, bacterial [*drug therapy]
  • Humans
  • Keratitis [*drug therapy; microbiology]

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)


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