April 20, 2018 Conference
Despite of the recent progresses in the area of molecular diagnosis, laboratory identification of organisms causing eye infections is widely performed by old-fashioned and time-consuming techniques, such as microscopy and culture. Because of the diminutive size of eye specimens, and the fact that many ocular pathogens cannot be readily cultured, after several days of effort, a report is often returned as negative, despite clear clinical evidence of an infection. Patients are thus started on broad-spectrum therapies with one or two antimicrobial agents, and de-escalation to a targeted therapy based on the laboratory results may take days or weeks. In the interim, the infection continues its destructive path, much of it preventable if the pathogen was quickly known. New technologies have the potential to quickly diagnose the microbe causing an infection, as well as its antibiotic resistance, providing the physician with critical information in hours, rather than days. In addition, because of the enhanced sensitivity of these methods, a positive test is reported to a greater number of patients. This presentation will explore the advantages of the newest cutting-edge technologies (e.g. digital counting of barcoded DNA and next generation sequencing) for detection and identification of nucleic acids to develop rapid, sensitive and comprehensive diagnostic tests for eye infections.