- Brief report
- Open Access
Candida albicans scleral abscess in a HIV-positive patient and its successful resolution with antifungal therapy—a first case report
© The Author(s). 2016
- Received: 9 September 2015
- Accepted: 8 June 2016
- Published: 22 June 2016
Fungal infection of the sclera is very rare. No case of fungal scleral abscess in a HIV-positive patient has been reported. We report a case of scleral abscess caused by Candida albicans and its successful resolution following antifungal therapy in a HIV-positive patient.
A 57-year-old diabetic Asian (Indian) who was on highly active antiretroviral therapy for the last 10 years presented with 2 weeks’ history of redness in his right eye. Examination revealed localised scleral inflammation with central ulceration in the inferior quadrant of the right eye. Initially, the ulcer scrapings revealed no microbial organism. Progression of ulcer although on empirical antibiotic therapy required repeat scrapings which showed Candida albicans species in culture sensitive to amphotericin and natamycin. Aggressive topical and systemic antifungals resulted in dramatic and complete healing of the ulcer in 3 weeks. Vision was well maintained at 20/30 throughout the treatment course, and the fundus remained normal.
This is the first ever case of fungal scleral abscess in a HIV patient to be reported emphasizing there is a need for high vigilance to suspect an infective aetiology of scleritis in patients with immunocompromised status. Prompt microbial assessment and appropriate antifungals can decrease morbidity in these unusual but serious cases as illustrated in this case.
- Scleral abscess
- Candida albicans
- Antifungal therapy
- HIV-positive patient
Infections are uncommon causes of scleral inflammation . Diagnosis is often difficult and gets delayed as the clinical picture appears similar to the more common cause; the immune-mediated disease. Fungal infections of the sclera have been reported following surgeries for retinal detachment [2–5], pterygium [6, 7], cataract [8, 9] and as a part of systemic fungal infections [10, 11]. All these reports are in immunocompetent individuals with a significant inflammatory response.
Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) patients are prone to many opportunistic fungal infections, but ocular fungal infections are rare and usually do not involve the sclera . We report a case of fungal scleral abscess caused by Candida albicans in a patient with AIDS and its successful resolution following antifungal therapy.
A 57-year-old Asian (Indian) male was first seen at our hospital in July 2015. He came to us with a history of redness in his right eye for 15 days associated with pain and watering. He had no complaints regarding his vision. He was a known diabetic for 20 years and was detected to be infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) 10 years back. His CD4 count was 461cells/mm3 and was on highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). His blood sugar levels were moderately controlled. There was no history of trauma or any other significant history.
He was diagnosed as an infective scleral abscess of the right eye. Scraping of the lesion was done and was put on empirical treatment of oral indomethacin and topical moxifloxacin eye drops one hourly.
Two days later, the scleral abscess showed signs of improvement. The epithelial defect and congestion persisted. Culture and sensitivity were done which revealed that the fungus is sensitive to amphotericin B and natamycin and resistant to voriconazole, fluconazole and itraconazole. Hence, topical natamycin was added and voriconazole was stopped. The rest of the medications were continued as earlier. The lesion started regressing, and the patient was reviewed after 2 weeks.
Fungal infections of the sclera are devastating cause of infectious scleritis as they are difficult to diagnose and often diagnosed late. The reported incidence of fungal scleritis is around 11 to 38 % of the total infectious causes of scleritis [13–15].
Candida albicans is a dimorphic commensal fungus. Candidiasis is usually seen in immunocompromised individuals like HIV-infected patients. Candidiasis has a varied presentation. Candida albicans usually causes keratitis, chorioretinitis and endogenous endophthalmitis in HIV/AIDS patients [16–18]. Scleral infection by Candida albicans is very rare. Ahn et al. have reported two cases of fungal scleral infection in immunocompetent individuals . Garelick et al. have described a case of Cryptococcus albidus in a patient with AIDS .
No case of scleral abscess has been reported in any patient with HIV/AIDS. Our patient is a HIV-positive patient and has a scleral abscess caused by Candida albicans. Hence, it should be considered as a possible diagnosis and early investigation and treatment should be done, as it can lead to devastating complication like endophthalmitis. Our case also highlights the fact that a strong degree of clinical suspicion backed by appropriate anti-infective (anti-fungal) therapy is a must for the complete resolution of the lesion.
Our case demonstrates the utility of culture and sensitivity in choosing the appropriate anti-fungal agent, since the initial use of a broad spectrum anti-fungal did not yield the required result. Based on culture and sensitivity, specific drugs were used which lead to the complete resolution of lesions.
In conclusion, we report an uncommon presentation of a Candida albicans scleral abscess in an AIDS patient, who was treated promptly by appropriate topical and oral antifungals. Proper scraping and culture and sensitive reporting are an essential component of diagnosis and treating such a rare case thus preventing grave consequences.
Written informed consent was obtained from the patient.
AIDS, acquired immune deficiency syndrome; HIV, human immunodeficiency virus; HAART, highly active antiretroviral therapy; BCVA, best-corrected visual acuity
We acknowledge the Departments of Uvea and Microbiology for their support.
Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
- Watson PG (1995) Diseases of the sclera and episclera. In: Duane TD, Jaegger EA (eds) Clinical ophthalmology, vol 4. JB Lippencott, Philadelphia, pp 1–45Google Scholar
- Lincoff HA, Mclean JM, Nano H (1965) Scleral abscess: a complication of retinal detachment buckling procedures. Arch Ophthalmol 74:641–648View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Milauskas AT, Duke JR (1967) Mycotic scleral abscess: report of a case following a scleral buckling operation for retinal detachment. Am J Ophthalmol 63:951–954View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Bhermi G, Gillespie I, Manthalone B (2000) Scedosporium fungal infection of a sponge explant. Eye 14:247–249View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Kim JF, Perkins S, Harris GJ (2003) Voriconazole treatment of fungal scleritis and epibulbar abscess resulting from scleral buckle infection. Arch Ophthalmol 121:735–737View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Lin CP, Shih MH, Tsai MC (1997) Clinical experience of infectious scleral ulceration: a complication of pterygium operation. Br J Ophthalmol 81:980–983View ArticlePubMedPubMed CentralGoogle Scholar
- Hsiao CH, Chen JJ, Huang SC et al (1998) Intrascleral dissemination of infectious scleritis following pterygium excision. Br J Ophthalmol 82:29–32View ArticlePubMedPubMed CentralGoogle Scholar
- Carlson AN, Foulks GN, Perfect JR et al (1992) Fungal scleritis after cataract surgery. Successful outcome using itraconazole. Cornea 11:151–154View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Mendicute J, Orbegozo J, Ruiz M et al (2000) Keratomycosis after cataract surgery. J Cataract Refract Surg 26:1660–1666View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Stenson S, Brookner A, Rosenthal S (1982) Bilateral endogenous necrotizing scleritis due to Aspergillus oryzae. Ann Ophthalmol 14:67PubMedGoogle Scholar
- Hemady R, Sainz Dela Maza M, Raizman M et al (1992) Six cases of scleritis associated with systemic infection. Am J Ophthalmol 114:55View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Waddell KM, Lucas SB, Downing RG (2000) Conjunctival cryptococcosis in the acquired immune deficiency syndrome. Arch Ophthalmol 118:1452–1453PubMedGoogle Scholar
- Hodson KL, Galor A, Karp CL, Davis JL, Albini TA, Perez VL, Miller D, Forster RK (2013) Epidemiology and visual outcomes in patients with infectious scleritis. Cornea 32:466–472View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Jain V, Garg P, Sharma S (2009) Microbial scleritis experience from a developing country. Eye (Lond) 23:255–261View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Kumar Sahu S, Das S, Sharma S, Sahu K (2012) Clinico-microbiological profile and treatment outcome of infectious scleritis: experience from a tertiary eye care center of India. Int J Infl am 2012:753560Google Scholar
- Hemady R (1995) Microbial keratitis in patients infected with the human immunodeficiency virus. Ophthalmology 102:1026–1030View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Maenza JR, Merz WG (1998) Candida albicans and related species. In: Gorbach SL, Bartlett JG, Blacklow NR (eds) Infectious diseases. W. B. Saunders Company, Philadelphia, Pa, pp 2313–2322Google Scholar
- Van Buren JM (1958) Septic retinitis due to Candida albicans. Arch Pathol 65:137Google Scholar
- Ahn SJ, Oh JY, Kim MK et al (2010) Clinical features, predisposing factors, and treatment outcomes of scleritis in Korean population. Korean J Ophthalmol 24(6):331–335View ArticlePubMedPubMed CentralGoogle Scholar
- Garelick JM, Khodabakhsh AJ, Lopez Y et al (2004) Scleral ulceration caused by Cryptococcus albidus in a patient with acquired immune deficiency syndrome. Cornea 23:730–731View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar