Acanthamoeba keratitis

Acanthamoeba is a type of amoeba commonly found in soil, fresh water and a variety of habitats.  Because it is so common, acanthamoeba often makes it into our drinking water, although at extremely low concentrations.  Acanthamoeba rarely results in illness, but the eyes are susceptible to the organism.  In the United States, acanthamoeba infections are almost related to contact lens use, because the organism can thrive in the space between the contact lens and your eye.

Acanthamoeba keratitis can be a serious problem, leading to corneal swelling, severe pain, and corneal ulcers.  If not treated aggressively with a mixture of strong antibiotics, an acanthamoeba infection may cause so much damage that a corneal transplant is necessary.

Risks factors for acanthamoeba can easily be avoided by practicing good contact lens hygiene.  Contact lens wearers should always wash their hands before handling their lenses and should never use tap water to clean or soak their contact lenses; contact lens should always be properly disinfected before wearing.  If you plan to go swimming, surfing or come in contact with soil, mud and brush, then removing your contacts is recommended.