Candida species are a common cause of fungal endophthalmitis. This infection arises in two distinct ways:
- The endogenous form follows candidemia, with hematogenous seeding of the eye. Fungi usually first seed the highly vascular choroid, then infection typically progresses through the retina into the vitreous. The aqueous is sometimes involved as well.
- The exogenous form follows trauma, eye surgery, or progression of fungal keratitis (corneal infection). Fungi are directly inoculated into the aqueous and/or vitreous. (See "Treatment of exogenous endophthalmitis due to Candida species".)
The management of endogenous endophthalmitis due to Candida species will be reviewed here. The epidemiology, pathogenesis, clinical manifestations, and diagnosis of fungal endophthalmitis are discussed separately. The management of exogenous endophthalmitis due to Candida species and endophthalmitis due to molds are also presented elsewhere. Bacterial endophthalmitis, Fusarium keratitis, and candidemia and other types of Candida infection are also discussed elsewhere. (See "Epidemiology, clinical manifestations, and diagnosis of fungal endophthalmitis" and "Treatment of exogenous endophthalmitis due to Candida species" and "Bacterial endophthalmitis" and "Treatment and prevention of Fusarium infection", section on 'Keratitis' and "Treatment of candidemia and invasive candidiasis in adults" and "Overview of Candida infections".)
The terminology of Candida endophthalmitis may be confusing. The term "endophthalmitis" means infection within the eye, and in general implies infection of the vitreous and/or aqueous (figure 1). Endogenous Candida endophthalmitis often presents first as chorioretinitis with minimal vitritis (vitreous inflammation), then later progresses to produce vitreous and sometimes aqueous infection (“endophthalmitis”). The term "ocular candidiasis” is used to describe this spectrum of infection, and some articles in the literature reserve the term “Candida endophthalmitis” only for cases in which the vitreous and/or aqueous are involved. However, the majority of publications include the entire spectrum, including chorioretinitis, in the term “Candida endophthalmitis,” so we will follow this convention. We will note the distinction between chorioretinitis alone and Candida infection that extends to involve the vitreous throughout this topic because the approach to therapy differs between these two conditions.
No controlled trials of treatment regimens for endogenous Candida endophthalmitis have been performed. The evidence comes from case reports and small observational studies. In addition, studies of the treatment of candidemia have provided insights regarding the choice of therapy for endogenous Candida endophthalmitis. (See "Treatment of candidemia and invasive candidiasis in adults".)