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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015, Article ID 164989, 17 pages
Review Article

Nontuberculous Mycobacterial Ocular Infections: A Systematic Review of the Literature

Department of Ophthalmology, Ocular Immunology and Uveitis Service, American University of Beirut, Riad El Solh, Beirut 1107 2020, Lebanon

Received 6 December 2014; Revised 20 February 2015; Accepted 20 February 2015

Academic Editor: Mehdi Mirsaeidi

Copyright © 2015 Wajiha J. Kheir et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Nontuberculous or atypical mycobacterial ocular infections have been increasing in prevalence over the past few decades. They are known to cause periocular, adnexal, ocular surface and intraocular infections and are often recalcitrant to medical therapy. These infections can potentially cause detrimental outcomes, in part due to a delay in diagnosis. We review 174 case reports and series on nontuberculous mycobacterial (NTM) ocular infections and discuss etiology, microbiology, risk factors, diagnosis, clinical presentation, and treatment of these infections. History of interventions, trauma, foreign bodies, implants, contact lenses, and steroids are linked to NTM ocular infections. Steroid use may prolong the duration of the infection and cause poorer visual outcomes. Early diagnosis and initiation of treatment with multiple antibiotics are necessary to achieve the best visual outcome.