Laboratory Test Information Guide

Details for Eye Culture

Test Name: Eye Culture
Alternate Name(s):  
Laboratory: Microbiology (VH)
Specimen Type: Conjunctival swab or scraping
Corneal scrapings
Vitreous fluid or washings
Collection Information: Use specific transport media or kit available for chlamydia, virus or bacteria. Collect viral and chlamydia samples before topical anaesthetics are administered. See separate listings for chlamydia and virus culture. One or two drops of a topical anaesthetic may be used before collecting samples for bacterial culture.

Conjunctival Swab - Swab the inside surface of the eyelid and the fornix of the eye. Place in transport media. Separate swab for each eye even though only 1 eye is infected.

Conjunctival Scrapings - Scrape the lower tarsal conjunctiva with a sterilized spatula. Inoculate scrapings directly onto plates, slants, slides. Also take a conjunctival swab.

Corneal Scrapings - Use short, firm strokes in one direction and scrape multiple areas of ulceration and suppuration with a sterile spatula. Keep the eyelid open and be careful not to touch the eyelashes. Inoculate scrapings directly onto plates slant, slides and broth. Also take a conjunctival swab.

Vitreous Fluid or Washings - Collect this by needle aspiration technique. If anaerobes are suspected (e.g. Propionibacterium), use anaerobic transport media. Otherwise, send sample in a sterile container. Also take a conjunctival swab.

Deliver to the Lab promptly.
Test Schedule: Daily

Turnaround time from when specimen
is received in testing laboratory:
Swabs: 2 days
Scrapings/fluids: 7 days
Reference Range:  
Effective Date: 2008-11-03
Revised Date:  
Critical Value:  
Interpretive Comments: Conjunctival samples from babies less than 2 weeks old will be investigated for N. gonorrhoeae.
Special Processing: Swabs - EYEC
Scrapings - TISC
Fluids - FLDS
Comments: Organisms are more readily detected in scrapings than from a swab.
Method of Analysis: Microscopic, culture
Critical Information Required:  
Storage & Shipment: The specimen must be stored at room temperature.

The specimen must be received within 24 hours of collection.
System Codes: 
See Special Processing
Referred To:  

Questions? Comments? Contact Laura Gopaul