Acanthamoeba Keratitis and Contact Lenses

Acanthamoeba Keratitis is an eye condition that results from poor contact lens hygiene.  This can lead to a rare, but serious eye infection developing.  Patients who suffer from the eye condition Acanthamoeba Keratitis can suffer permanent eye damage and even blindness. This eye infection is caused when microscopic, free-living amoeba called Acanthamoeba invade the outer covering of the eye called the cornea.  Early signs of infection can resemble many other eye infections and symptoms can last for several weeks to several months.Symptoms of Acanthamoeba Keratitis include:

  • Eye Pain
  • Eye Redness
  • Blurred Vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Sensation of something in the eye
  • Excessive tearing

People who exhibit these symptoms should consult with an eye care professional as Acanthamoeba Keratitis will eventually cause severe pain, possible vision loss and even blindness if left untreated.

Acanthamoeba Keratitis occurs primarily in individuals who wear contact lenses.  However, it is possible for anyone to develop this eye infection.  Patients who are generally diagnosed with Acanthamoeba Keratitis generally have exhibited certain behaviours associated with their contact lenses such as:

  • Improper storage and handling
  • Improper disinfection
  • Swimming with lenses
  • Showering with lenses
  • Using a hot tub with lenses
  • Coming into contact with contaminated water
  • Previous history of trauma to the cornea

Once diagnosed by an eye care specialist, the infection can be treated with several eye medications that are available through prescription.  Diagnosis generally involves the existence of symptoms and a scraping of the eye or through microscopy.

People who wear contact lenses should take precaution when caring for their lenses and excerise proper hygene to reduce the risk of eye infections.  Regular eye exams are essential and given the widespread use of contact lenses, eye care professionals are aware of Acanthamoeba Keratitis.