We studied three cases of keratitis caused by Mycobacterium chelonei, a nontuberculous mycobacterial species. The cases occurred in two women, 76 and 80 years old, and one man, 67 years old, treated as outpatients in the same office. One case followed suture removal and the other two occurred after posterior capsulotomy. Corneal lesions appeared within two to three weeks of trauma and were white, round infiltrates with indistinct margins and radiating projections. The lesions were found at all levels of the stroma and were associated with an epithelial defect. Anterior chamber reaction varied from a minimal response to a hypopyon. One patient responded to topical therapy with amikacin and erythromycin, but the other two patients required penetrating keratoplasties because of deep abscesses, which progressed toward the sclera despite therapy. These cases emphasized the possibility of rapidly growing nontuberculous mycobacteria producing serious ocular infections.
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