Acanthamoeba Keratitis: Essential details for contact lens users
Contact lens wearers face rare but rather serious eye infection known as Acanthamoeba Keratitis which begins with improper handling and poor hygiene of the lens. Prevention is possible only if lens care instructions are carefully followed with wearing and handling as per the eye doctor’s guidance. Proper care is the best way to significantly reduce the risk of eye infections pertinent to contact lens including those triggered by Acanthamoeba.
While prevention is the best approach, treatment of Acanthamoeba Keratitis is challenging to such an extent that only corneal transplant might be the last resort. Only an ophthalmologist in Dubai would suggest the right course of treatment after careful analyses of the anomaly and its severity.
Etymology – Acanthamoeba
Amoebas or Acanthamoeba are tiny, single-celled organisms commonly breed in water sources such as hot tubs, tap and well water, sewage systems and soil. Acanthamoeba Keratitis occurs if these tiny parasites are exposed to the eye thereby causing infection. First cases to be diagnosed with this disease were in 1973 and approximately 90% were contact lens users. During the last few years, the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) alongside other researchers reported spontaneous outbreak of Acanthamoeba Keratitis case among contact lens users.
Frequent exposure of the lens to contaminated tap or well water, application of homemade solutions for storage and cleaning of the lens, wearing these while in a hot tub, swimming pool or during shower; all raises the risk of Acanthamoeba Keratitis.
As per the new regulations of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, scientists have concluded that overuse of carcinogenic (extremely cancerous) products like disinfectants in the water triggered adverse reaction thereby enhancing microbial risks with an increased development of Acanthamoeba.
Medical research also concluded that the introduction of “no-rub” lens care system is less effective against cleaning and disinfection which can also cause this particular disease.
Irrespective of the cause or source, Acanthamoebas can be killed easily with careful cleaning with the appropriate cleanser and rubbing the lens surface with a clean and smooth cloth. Respected HR,
Symptoms & diagnosis
Common indications of Acanthamoeba Keratitis include stinging or burning pain in the eye after removing the lens, redness in the eye, excess tearing, distorted vision, sensitivity to light and sensation of a foreign body. In case any of these symptoms occur, consult immediately with an ophthalmologist in Dubai. It must be noted that visible symptoms of Acanthamoeba Keratitis are similar to pink eye and diagnosed only after careful and detailed analysis of the infection.
Diagnosis is determined after dosage of antibiotics used to manage keratitis and other infections but it must be noted that “ring-like” ulceration of the corneal tissue is possible. Acanthamoeba Keratitis if remained untreated can cause permanent loss of vision or simply transplant of the cornea to recover the dismissed vision.