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Acanthamoeba Keratitis: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment Options

Gina Walters


acanthamoeba keratitis

Acanthamoeba Keratitis is a serious eye condition caused by a microscopic organism called Acanthamoeba. 

This single-celled amoeba is easily found in the environment.

Acanthamoeba Keratitis is rare but can lead to serious eye problems if not diagnosed quickly. 

Let us explore more about Acanthamoeba Keratitis, its symptoms, causes, and treatment options.

What is Acanthamoeba Keratitis

Acanthamoeba Keratitis is a rare and serious type of Keratitis.

The eye infection is caused by Acanthamoeba, which may lead to intense eye pain, Red Eye, and more.

Acanthamoeba is a free-living amoeba found in various environments like soil, dust, air, and water. 

The amoeba can cause infections in humans when it comes into contact with the eyes, skin wounds, or through the respiratory system.

Acanthamoeba Keratitis is common in people who wear contact lenses, as poor contact lens hygiene can increase the risk of the condition.

It is important to get regular eye check-ups to detect the infection early and for timely treatment.

One should wear UV protection sunglasses, as bright lights can increase sensitivity. Also, use protective eyewear during activities that expose the eyes to dust or water.

Acanthamoeba Keratitis symptoms and causes

Eye redness (viral pink eye symptom)Source: dtimiraos_from_Getty_Images
Eye redness

Recognizing the symptoms of Acanthamoeba Keratitis is essential for early detection. 

The early symptoms are often similar to other eye infections, which makes the diagnosis challenging. 

The common symptoms of Acanthamoeba Keratitis include:

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One should observe the above symptoms and consult a doctor if the symptoms are consistent.

However, a person should also be attentive to the causes of Acanthamoeba Keratitis.

The rare eye infection is mainly common in contact lens users, as Acanthamoeba grows in dirty contact lenses. 

Also, activities such as swimming or showering while wearing contact lenses may increase the risk of infection.

Do not wear contact lenses during treatment and recovery, as it can worsen the infection and slow the healing process.

Early-stage Acanthamoeba Keratitis

Early-stage Acanthamoeba Keratitis comes with mild yet significant symptoms. 

Individuals may experience light eye discomfort, redness, and increased sensitivity to light. 

However, many may mistake these symptoms for common eye irritation and delay diagnosis. 

As the infection progresses, patients may observe eye grittiness and blurred vision.

Identifying the early-stage Acanthamoeba Keratitis is important to prevent future eye complications and preserve long-term eye health.

One should get regular eye tests and consult a doctor for proper diagnosis.

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Acanthamoeba Keratitis treatment options

Glaucoma surgerySource: Nastasic_from_Getty_Images
Eye surgery

There are many treatment options to help with Acanthamoeba Keratitis. However, the treatment may involve a combination of approaches. 

Also, the treatment depends on the severity of the infection and the individual’s health.

The treatment options include:

Topical medications: Doctors may suggest antimicrobial eye drops to help stop the Acanthamoeba infection. The eye drops include Polyhexamethylene Biguanide, Chlorhexidine, Hexamidine, and more.

Oral medications: In some cases, oral medications like Voriconazole or Itraconazole may be prescribed to target the infection.

Pain management: The doctors may also prescribe pain relievers or eye drops to help with symptoms like eye pain and discomfort.

Surgery: A corneal transplant may be necessary to restore vision if one’s cornea is extremely damaged.

It is best to consult a doctor and discuss your symptoms to get the best treatment plan.

Want to explore more about effective eye drops for Keratitis? Read: Keratitis Eye Drops: An Effective Way to Treat Eye Conditions

Key takeaways

Acanthamoeba Keratitis is a type of Keratitis caused by the microscopic organisms known as Acanthamoeba.

The Acanthamoeba affects the outer covering of the eye and may cause eye pain, Red eyes, blurred vision, and more.

The rare eye infection is mainly caused by poor contact lens hygiene, as Acanthamoeba grows in dirty contact lenses.

Recognizing the symptoms and causes is important for managing Acanthamoeba Keratitis effectively. 

Fortunately, the Acanthamoeba Keratitis treatment options include eye drops, oral medicine, pain relievers, and surgery. 

Consult a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is at risk for Acanthamoeba?

People who use contact lenses are at an increased risk for Acanthamoeba Keratitis, mainly those who practice poor lens hygiene. Also, swimming or showering while wearing lenses can increase the infection.

How to diagnose Acanthamoeba Keratitis?

Acanthamoeba Keratitis is diagnosed through specialized eye exams. The eye doctor may use techniques like slit lamp tests to closely examine the cornea, corneal scrapings for lab analysis, and special stains to ensure Acanthamoeba. It is important to get regular eye tests for early diagnosis and effective treatment.

How long does Acanthamoeba Keratitis treatment last?

The duration of Acanthamoeba Keratitis treatment varies but normally lasts several weeks to months, depending on the severity of the infection. Also, early diagnosis is important for timely treatment.

How to prevent Acanthamoeba Keratitis?

One can prevent Acanthamoeba Keratitis by practicing good contact lens hygiene, using proper cleaning solutions, and following prescribed lens care routines. Also, one should avoid wearing lenses during water activities and get regular eye check-ups. 

Is Acanthamoeba Keratitis curable?

Yes, Acanthamoeba Keratitis is treatable. The treatment options include topical eye drops and oral medications. However, doctors may recommend Corneal Transplant in serious cases.

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