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1.  Rapid assessment of visual impairment (RAVI) in marine fishing communities in South India - study protocol and main findings 
BMC Ophthalmology  2011;11:26.
Reliable data are a pre-requisite for planning eye care services. Though conventional cross sectional studies provide reliable information, they are resource intensive. A novel rapid assessment method was used to investigate the prevalence and causes of visual impairment and presbyopia in subjects aged 40 years and older. This paper describes the detailed methodology and study procedures of Rapid Assessment of Visual Impairment (RAVI) project.
A population-based cross-sectional study was conducted using cluster random sampling in the coastal region of Prakasam district of Andhra Pradesh in India, predominantly inhabited by fishing communities. Unaided, aided and pinhole visual acuity (VA) was assessed using a Snellen chart at a distance of 6 meters. The VA was re-assessed using a pinhole, if VA was < 6/12 in either eye. Near vision was assessed using N notation chart binocularly. Visual impairment was defined as presenting VA < 6/18 in the better eye. Presbyopia is defined as binocular near vision worse than N8 in subjects with binocular distance VA of 6/18 or better.
The data collection was completed in <12 weeks using two teams each consisting of one paramedical ophthalmic personnel and two community eye health workers. The prevalence of visual impairment was 30% (95% CI, 27.6-32.2). This included 111 (7.1%; 95% CI, 5.8-8.4) individuals with blindness. Cataract was the leading cause of visual impairment followed by uncorrected refractive errors. The prevalence of blindness according to WHO definition (presenting VA < 3/60 in the better eye) was 2.7% (95% CI, 1.9-3.5).
There is a high prevalence of visual impairment in marine fishing communities in Prakasam district in India. The data from this rapid assessment survey can now be used as a baseline to start eye care services in this region. The rapid assessment methodology (RAVI) reported in this paper is robust, quick and has the potential to be replicated in other areas.
PMCID: PMC3184277  PMID: 21929802
cataract; fishing communities; rapid assessment; India; visual impairment
2.  Comparison of an immortalized human corneal epithelial cell line with Vero cells in the isolation of Herpes simplex virus-1 for the laboratory diagnosis of Herpes simplex keratitis 
BMC Ophthalmology  2002;2:3.
Herpes simplex keratitis (HSK) is a sight threatening ocular infection often requiring a specific and prompt laboratory diagnosis. Isolation of Herpes simplex virus (HSV-1) in culture provides the most reliable and specific method and is considered as the "Gold Standard" in the laboratory diagnosis of HSK in spite of its low sensitivity. Using "cell lines of corneal origin" for virus isolation may be beneficial under such circumstances, since these cells have been shown to be excellent substrates for the growth of HSV-1 isolated from the cornea. We report a comparative study of a novel human corneal epithelial cell line (HCE) and the Vero cell line in the isolation of HSV-1 from corneal scrapings employing a shell vial assay.
Corneal scrapings were obtained from 17 patients with a clinical diagnosis of HSK. All the cases were confirmed by virological investigations (PCR and viral antigen detection positive, n = 15, PCR positive, n = 1, Viral antigen positive, n = 1). Scrapings obtained from 10 patients with infectious keratitis of non-viral origin were included as controls. All the scrapings were simultaneously inoculated into shell vials of HCE and Vero cells. Cultures were terminated at 24 h post-infection. Isolation of HSV-1 was confirmed using an indirect immunofluorescence/ immunoperoxidase assay.
Virus could be isolated using both or either of the cell lines in 10/17 (58.82%) patients with HSK. HSV-1 was isolated from 10/ 17 (58.82%) and 4/17(23.52%) specimens in HCE and Vero cells, respectively (P = 0.036). None of the controls yielded HSV-1. While all the 10 (100%) strains were isolated in HCE, Vero yielded only 4/10 (40%) strains in the shell vial culture (P = 0.014).
HCE showed a statistically significant difference in the virus isolation rate with respect to Vero cells. HCE may be an excellent alternative cell line for the isolation of HSV-1, especially from corneal scrapings, for the laboratory diagnosis of HSK.
PMCID: PMC113264  PMID: 11983023
3.  Collection of corneal impression cytology directly on a sterile glass slide for the detection of viral antigen: An inexpensive and simple technique for the diagnosis of HSV epithelial keratitis – A pilot study 
BMC Ophthalmology  2001;1:3.
Herpes simplex keratitis (HSK) is a sight threatening ocular infection and occurs worldwide. A prompt laboratory diagnosis is often very useful. Conventional virology techniques are often expensive and time consuming. We describe here a highly economical, simple, rapid and sensitive technique for the collection of impression cytology, for the laboratory diagnosis of HSK.
Fifteen patients with a clinical diagnosis of HSK (either dendritic or geographic ulcers) and five patients with other corneal infections (Mycotic keratitis, n = 3, Bacterial keratitis, n = 2) were included in the study. Corneal impression cytology specimens were collected using a sterile glass slide with polished edges instead of a membrane, by pressing the surface of one end of the slide firmly, but gently on the corneal lesion. Additionally, corneal scrapings were collected following the impression cytology procedure. Impression cytology and corneal scrapings were stained by an immunoperoxidase or immunofluorescence assay for the detection of HSV-1 antigen using a polyclonal antibody to HSV-1. Corneal scrapings were processed for viral cultures by employing a shell vial assay.
This simple technique allowed the collection of adequate corneal epithelial cells for the detection of HSV-1 antigen in a majority of the patients. HSV-1 antigen was detected in 12/15 (80%) cases while virus was isolated from 5/15 (33.3%) patients with HSK. All the patients with a clinical diagnosis of HSK (n = 15) were confirmed by virological investigations (viral antigen detection and/or viral cultures). HSV-1 antigen was detected in the impression cytology smears and corneal scrapings in 11/15 (73.3%) and 12/15 (80%) of the patients, respectively (P = 1.00). None of the patients in the control group were positive for viral antigen or virus isolation. Minimal background staining was seen in impression cytology smears, while there was some background staining in corneal scrapings stained by the immunoassays.
Collection of impression cytology on a sterile glass slide is a simple, rapid and inexpensive technique for the diagnosis of HSK. Immunological techniques applied on such smears provide virological results within 2-5 hours. This technique could be modified for use in the diagnosis of other external eye diseases, which needs further evaluation.
PMCID: PMC57753  PMID: 11592921
4.  Herpes simplex virus bullous keratitis misdiagnosed as a case of pseudophakic bullous keratopathy with secondary glaucoma: an unusual presentation 
BMC Ophthalmology  2001;1:2.
To report an unusual case of herpetic bullous keratitis misdiagnosed as a case of pseudophakic bullous keratopathy with secondary glaucoma.
A retrospective analysis of the case record of a 60-year-old man who had earlier undergone bilateral cataract surgery, was done. He presented with a complaint of decrease in vision in the right eye of 20 days duration. On examination, cornea showed epithelial bullae all over the surface with stromal and epithelial edema. Intraocular pressure was 30 mm of Hg in RE. He was treated with anti-glaucoma medications. Two dendritic lesions were seen in the cornea during a subsequent visit four days later. Virological investigations confirmed a diagnosis of Herpes simplex keratitis. He was treated with topical acyclovir.
This case highlights the fact that herpes simplex keratitis can present initially as a more diffuse corneal stromal and epithelial edema with epithelial bullae mimicking bullous keratopathy. Herpetic bullous keratitis, although unusual, should be considered in the differential diagnosis under such circumstances.
PMCID: PMC35284  PMID: 11472638

Results 1-4 (4)