Acanthamoeba  

Acanthamoeba  

Acanthamoeba is a common organism commonly found in soil and fresh water. Infection rate is low, but once infection does occur, it can be a severe threat to your vision.

Causes/risk factors

  • Cleaning and disinfecting contact lenses and it case with tap water.
  • Swimming with contact lenses, rivers and fresh water lakes in particular.

Symptoms

  • A red, painful infection that does not respond or improve with traditional treatment.
  • Excess tearing, light sensitivity, blurred vision with a sensation of something in the eye.
  • Irritated, red eyes that last persist after removing your contacts.

Diagnosis

It is always best to see an optometrist if you notice a red, irritated or painful eye.  Acanthamoeba classically produces greater pain than signs would suggest, but can progress very quickly. The doctor will perform a complete eye exam to determine the cause of infection, and may order labs or a biopsy for a final diagnosis.  In many cases, Acanthamoeba must be managed with a corneal specialist due to the aggressive nature of the infection.

Treatment

  • Removal of damaged tissue
  • Topical prescriptions
  • Biopsy may be considered if condition doesn’t improve

Prevention

  • Proper hand washing before handling contacts.
  • Rinse contact lens before storing.
  • Never use saliva to cleanse contacts.
  • Remove contacts before sleeping(unless instructed by your physician).
  • Do not share or swap contacts with anyone.
  • Use sterile products given to you by your physician to cleans you contact lenses.
  • See your optometrist regularly.
  • Do not use tap water to cleans your contact lens.