Acanthamoeba keratitis and contact lens wear

Department of Ophthalmology, Greenlane Hospital, New Zealand
Clinical and Experimental Optometry (Impact Factor: 1.34). 08/2007; 90(5):351 - 360. DOI: 10.1111/j.1444-0938.2007.00172.x


Acanthamoeba keratitis is a rare but serious complication of contact lens wear that may cause severe visual loss. The clinical picture is usually characterised by severe pain, sometimes disproportionate to the signs, with an early superficial keratitis that is often misdiagnosed as herpes simplex virus (HSV) keratitis. Advanced stages of the infection are usually characterised by central corneal epithelial loss and marked stromal opacification with subsequent loss of vision. In this paper, six cases of contact lens-related Acanthamoeba keratitis that occurred in Australia and New Zealand over a three-year period are described. Three of the patients were disposable soft lens wearers, two were hybrid lens wearers and one was a rigid gas permeable lens wearer. For all six cases, the risk factors for Acanthamoeba keratitis were contact lens wear with inappropriate or ineffective lens maintenance and exposure of the contact lenses to tap or other sources of water. All six patients responded well to medical therapy that involved topical use of appropriate therapeutic agents, most commonly polyhexamethylene biguanide and propamidine isethionate, although two of the patients also subsequently underwent deep lamellar keratoplasty due to residual corneal surface irregularity and stromal scarring. Despite the significant advances that have been made in the medical therapy of Acanthamoeba keratitis over the past 10 years, prevention remains the best treatment and patients who wear contact lenses must be thoroughly educated about the proper use and care of the lenses. In particular, exposure of the contact lenses to tap water or other sources of water should be avoided.

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    • "apy in the majority of our patients ( 14 / 16 ; 87 . 5 % ) , caused appre - ciable worsening in clinical presentation and resulted in two cases of corneal ulceration . Although steroids are prescribed to reduce inflammation and pain , they can simultaneously increase the pathogenicity of the amoebae by suppressing the patient ' s immune response ( Lindsay et al . , 2007 ; Khan , 2009 ) ."
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    ABSTRACT: Acanthamoeba keratitis (AK) is a corneal disease caused by members of a genus of free-living amoebae and is associated predominantly with contact lens (CL) use. This study reports 16 cases of culture-proven AK diagnosed in northern Italy. Genotype identification was carried out with a PCR assay based on sequence analysis of the 18S rRNA gene, and sensitivity and specificity were evaluated in comparison with traditional parasitological techniques. A 405 bp region of the 18S rRNA gene (ASA.S1) including diagnostic fragment 3 (DF3) was amplified using the genus-specific primers JDP1 and JDP2. Genotype assignment was based on phenetic analysis of the ASA.S1 subset of the nuclear small-subunit rRNA gene sequence excluding the highly variable DF3 region. Phylogenetic analysis was also performed on the sequences obtained. All patients complained of monolateral infection; 11 (68.75%) admitted improper CL disinfection. In 14/16 (87.5 %) subjects, corneal scrapings were stained with calcofluor white and haematoxylin and eosin and, in ten cases (62.5 %), microscopy was positive for Acanthamoeba cysts. In vitro culture on 3 % non-nutrient agar plates was obtained in all cases (100 %), whereas cloning and axenic growth were positive for 14 amoebic stocks (87.5 %). PCR analysis had 100 % sensitivity and specificity compared with in vitro axenic culture, showing positive amplification from 15 isolates. All Acanthamoeba strains belonged to the T4 genotype, the main AK-related genotype worldwide. These results confirmed the importance of a complete diagnostic protocol, including a PCR assay, for the clinical diagnosis of AK on biological samples. Genotyping allowed inclusion of all isolates in the T4 group, thus demonstrating the prevalence of this genotype in northern Italy.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2010 · Journal of Medical Microbiology
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    ABSTRACT: To investigate the incidence and features of bacterial, fungal and protozoal keratitis in Scotland. Prospective, population-based cohort study of all persons who developed culture proven microbial keratitis over an 8 month period. West of Scotland, UK. Approximately 3,000,000 population. Main outcome measures: Incidence and risk factors for microbial keratitis. All patients were included who had presumed microbial keratitis from which bacteria, fungi or Acanthamoeba was isolated from the corneal scraping by the hospital laboratory using a standardised protocol. In addition, contact lens wearing patients with pathognomonic features of Acanthamoeba keratitis, who yielded a negative culture result when referred on chlorhexidine therapy, were included if Acanthamoeba could be cultured from their lens storage case. The overall annual incidence of culture-proven microbial keratitis was 0.26 per 10,000 with a rate of 1.8 per 10,000 for contact lens wearers (all types, soft and rigid). Based on a previous pilot study of 'presumed' microbial keratitis in Glasgow, it was possible to estimate the incidence of expected 'presumed' microbial keratitis as 0.36 per 10,000 overall and 2.44 per 10,000 for contact lens wearers (all types). The incidence for Acanthamoeba keratitis was 1.49 per 10,000 soft contact lens wearers; this infection was not detected in the absence of contact lens wear nor with use of gas permeable or rigid contact lenses. 'Presumed' microbial keratitis from all causes, in the adult population, was approximately three times less common in the West of Scotland (0.36 per 10,000) than would be expected from a comparable retrospective study from Minnesota, USA for the years 1980-1988 (1.1 per 10,000). It was rare (approximately one case expected in 2 million per year) in the absence of pre-existing corneal disease, cosmetic contact lens wear or trauma. Ocular surface disease was the underlying cause predisposing to infection in 58% of cases, with an incidence of 'presumed' keratitis of 0.21 per 10,000 population; the highest incidence was found in the elderly population. Contact lens wear was responsible for 38% of cases, emphasising the importance of preventive hygiene and effective disinfection in this group. The estimated incidence of 'presumed' microbial keratitis in the West of Scotland associated with cosmetic wear (daily and extended use) of soft contact lenses was significantly less (P<0.05) than that expected from a prospective study in New England, America in 1985 (266 per 10,000, rather than 8.05 per 10,000). However, the estimated incidence for presumed microbial keratitis for the West of Scotland associated with wearing soft contact lenses for cosmetic purposes in the daily wear modality (266 per 10,000) was less, but not significantly less, than that found in the prospective American study (4.20 per 10,000). The daily wear mode for contact lenses is almost universal in the West of Scotland, where extended wear has never been recommended. Extended wear has been shown in the USA to be associated with an incidence of presumed microbial keratitis between five and ten times higher than that associated with daily wear. This explains the lower incidence we have observed and a difference with the US study for overall infection rates but not when associated with daily wear alone. The incidence of proven Acanthamoeba keratitis found in the Scottish study among wearers of soft contact lenses for daily wear cosmetic purposes was exceptionally high at 1.49 per 10,000.
    No preview · Article · Dec 1999 · Contact Lens & Anterior Eye
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    ABSTRACT: We described the rate of Acanthamoeba keratitis (AK) in a referral eye center in São Paulo, Brazil, through a retrospective review of clinical and laboratorial records of patients over 2 decades. From 1987 to 2006, a total of 581 requests for amoebic laboratory workup in cases of infectious keratitis were investigated. Statistical analyses were applied to analyze a tendency of AK cases. Acanthamoeba species were cultured from corneal scrapings of 185 patients, 5 of them with bilateral infection. Eighty-three percent of those patients were related with contact lens wear. The results suggested that patients with AK have persisted and increased over time at our ophthalmology center. Contact lenses showed to be a potential risk factor. Amoebic corneal infection can be considered as a new but well-established disease in Brazilian ophthalmology and visual sciences.
    No preview · Article · May 2009 · Cornea
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