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Eye Swab Culture


Specimens may not be processed if there is a lack of clinical details. Please consider if samples are clinically required and would change management. 


Culture of Eye swabs for the isolation and identification of Bacterial & Fungal Pathogens.

Antimicrobial sensitivity testing is performed as appropriate.


To determine the presence of Bacterial and/or Fungal pathogens which may be causing an infection.


Eye Swab

Click here for Corneal Scrape & Contact Lens Culture

Specimen Container

Charcoal Swab

To Request On EPIC

For electronic requesting using EPIC (RDUH ONLY):

Search for: ‘Eye swab MC&S‘ or test code ‘LAB943

Special Instructions

Please provide relevant clinical details with the request: this helps the lab process the sample correctly and provide the best result for the patient:

Please state site of swab.

Please also state clearly the following: whether the patient is diabetic, if the patient is immunocompromised, does the patient wear contact lenses, current and recent antibiotic therapy.

Please do not repeat in under 48 hours.

Specimen Collection

For a Conjunctival swab:

  1. Where possible specimens should be collected before starting any antimicrobial therapy.
  2. Use aseptic technique.
  3. Gently evert the lower eyelid to expose the conjunctival membrane.
  4. Rub the swab gently over the conjunctival membrane avoiding the cornea.
  5. Immediately after collection the swab should be returned to its plastic sheath (placed into the transport medium.)
  6. Label the sample with at least three identifiers (Name, D.O.B & NHS or Hospital No) and place into a specimen bag.
  7. Transport to the laboratory as soon as possible.
  8. If transport is delayed, refrigeration is preferable to storage at ambient temperature.


Processed locally in Microbiology at RDUH

Processing Time

48 – 72 Hours

Specimen Labelling Procedure
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