Lab Test

Culture, Eye

Eye Culture

Test Codes





The proper collection of aerobic cultures cannot be over-emphasized. Specimens which are improperly collected may yield misleading results.  

Specimen Collection Criteria

Collect: Scrapings or other specimens from the cornea, conjunctiva, or eye, placed in a sterile container, ESwab in Amies transport medium, or inoculated directly onto media.

  • When culturing both eyes, use separate swabs. 
  • Most eye specimens are collected by a physician and inoculated directly onto culture media. When sending inoculated media to the Laboratory, plates must be taped shut and placed in a biohazard bag. 
  • Inoculated culture media is to be transported immediately to the Microbiology Laboratory at room temperature (20-26°C or 68-78.8°F).  

Physician Office/Draw Specimen Preparation

Maintain specimens at room temperature (20-26°C or 68-78.8°F) prior to transport. Arrange for transport to the Laboratory immediately after collection. 

Preparation for Courier Transport

Transport: Specimen in ESwab or Amies transport medium or inoculated media, at room temperature (20-26°C or 68-78.8°F). 

Rejection Criteria

  • Specimens not submitted to the Laboratory immediately after collection. 
  • Specimens in non-sterile or leaking containers, or specimens that have been delayed in transit will be tested, with reporting at the discretion of the Microbiology Medical/Technical Director.  

Inpatient Specimen Preparation

Transport specimens to the Laboratory immediately after collection.

In-Lab Processing

If inoculated plates are delayed in transit, the culture may be compromised or contaminated and the physician will be notified. 


Specimen Stability for Testing:

Room Temperature (20-26°C or 68-78.8°F): 24 hours
Refrigerated (2-8°C or 36-46°F): Unacceptable
Frozen (-20°C/-4°F or below): Unacceptable

Specimen Storage in Department Prior to Disposal: 

Refrigerated (2-8°C or 36-46°F): 7 days 


Dearborn Microbiology Laboratory
Taylor, Trenton and Wayne sent to Dearborn Microbiology Laboratory for testing.

Royal Oak Microbiology Laboratory
Farmington Hills, Grosse Pointe, and Troy sent to Royal Oak Microbiology Laboratory for testing. 


Sunday – Saturday, 24 hours a day.
Preliminary results available within 24 hours.
Final negative results available in 3 days.

Reference Range

No organisms recovered.

Test Methodology

Gram stain, aerobic culture, and identification, susceptibility testing (if indicated).


The recovery of microorganisms from an appropriate, properly collected specimen may be indicative of an infectious disease process.

Clinical Utility

This test is used to recover and identify aerobic bacteria that may be involved in human infections.


Church, D.L., 2016, Ocular Cultures, in Leber, A.L., Editor-in-Chief, Clinical Microbiology Procedures Handbook, 4th edition, Section 3.10. 

CPT Codes

87070 (Aerobic Culture), 87205 (Gram Stain).
LOINC:  609-8


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