• CPT Code for Swabbing Cornea


    Question: Our physician frequently swabs an area of the eye and sends the sample to be cultured.   The closest CPT code I see is 65430 Scraping of cornea, diagnostic, for smear and/or culture. However, its is not scraping, so I am unsure if we should submit.

    Answer: The typical service for 65430 states: After application of topical anesthetic, an eyelid speculum is inserted. Observing with a slit lamp biomicroscope, a sterile platinum spatula is used to repeatedly scrape the edges of the corneal ulcer. Scrapings are smeared onto glass slides which are treated with gram, Giemsa and fungal stains.

     Additional scrapings are inoculated onto a variety of microbiological cultures to detect aerobic and anaerobic bacteria, fungi and in special cases culture media for herpes virus and protozoa. The stained smears are promptly examined, usually by the ophthalmologist, with light microscopy to determine the type of cellular response and to search for infectious agents. The need for immediate evaluation and interpretation of smear is necessitated by the avascular nature of the cornea and its inability to fight infection like tissue. The cultures are promptly incubated.

    Learn more about minor procedures in the Cornea module