Cornea infections (Red Eye) in Wellington

This study looked at the causes of bacterial cornea infections in Wellington NZ. Corneal infections are a serious cause of Red Eye. Ocular surface disease and contact lens use were the main risk factors for corneal infection.

Five-year experience of corneal scrapes at Wellington Eye Department, New Zealand.

New Zealand Medical Journal. August 2007, Volume 120, Number 1260, Page 28-33.

Kunaal Rajpal, Reece C Hall MBChB, et al.


To determine the causative organisms of bacterial keratitis in Wellington and to identify the antibiotic sensitivities of each bacterium isolated. These results will then be compared with certain patient characteristics and clinical outcomes.


Corneal scrapes collected between 2001 and 2005 were retrospectively analysed and collated on a database. Corneal scrapes were collected by an ophthalmologist and processed by trained microbiological staff.


34 scrapes were collected; there was a positive Gram-stain in 38% of cases. A positive culture was obtained in 85% of scrapes. The commonest Gram-negative organism was Moraxella spp. (12.5%). The commonest Gram-positive organism was coagulase-negative Staphylococci (25%). The Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria were all sensitive to chloramphenicol. Ocular surface disease was the most common risk factor.


Our study shows similarities and differences with other ophthalmology centres around the World, this emphasises the recognised regional variation of bacterial keratitis. The two most important points to be taken from our results are: an accurate database for recording corneal scrape details and a protocol for testing antibiotic sensitivities and resistance needs to be established in Wellington; and a future study needs to be carried out on the next five years of corneal scrapes.