Vision Research Foundation, Sankara Nethralaya, 18 College Road, Chennai 600 006, India
Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is a technique involving enzymatic amplification of nucleic acid sequences in repeated cycles of denaturation, oligonucleotide annealing and DNA polymerase extension. It is a powerful molecular biologic tool that allows the rapid production of analytic quantities of DNA from small amounts of starting material. PCR can be performed on nearly any ocular specimen or biopsy. For diagnosis of uveitis, the obtained sample is usually an anterior chamber paracentesis or vitreous tap. PCR potentially is more sensitive than culture for detection of many organisms. By utilizing a secondary detection system in concert with the initial PCR reaction, perfect specificity can be assured. The initial application of PCR diagnostics to ophthalmic disease was in the detection of viral uveitis. PCR has also been implicated in studies of noninfectious uveitis. The most common application is HLA typing. A universal bacterial PCR can be very helpful for the diagnosis of bacterial endophthalmitis at an early stage of the disease.
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