Acanthamoeba Keratitis: A Growing Problem in Soft and Hard Contact Lens Wearers

Mary Beth Moore, James P. McCulley, Catherine Newton, L. Michael Cobo, Gary N. Foulks, Denis M. O'Day, Karla J. Johns, William T. Driebe, Louis A. Wilson, Randy J. Epstein, Donald J Doughman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

139 Scopus citations


Eleven contact lens-wearing patients presented with Acanthamoeba keratitis. Eight cases were culture- and/or stain-positive for Acanthamoeba and three were presumed to have Acanthamoeba keratitis based on history and clinical findings. Six wore daily wear soft contact lenses, two wore extendedwear soft contact lenses, one wore a polymethylmethacrylate hard contact lens, one wore a gas-permeable hard contact lens, and one wore a Saturn lens (combined hard and soft lens). Four patients used distilled water and salt tablet saline, three used tap water and salt tablet saline, two used tap water rinse, two used well water rinse or storage, and one used intravenous (IV) saline. It is apparent that all contact lens wearers are at some risk for Acanthamoeba keratitis developing if proper contact lens care is not maintained. Of great concern is the inability of most current chemical sterilization methods to kill the organism if the lens becomes contaminated. Heat disinfection will kill Acanthamoeba trophozoites and cysts but the lens must not be placed into contaminated solutions afterward. Prevention is very important because medical and surgical treatment failures are frequent. Eye care practitioners who fit contact lenses are advised to use heat disinfection for low-water content stock soft contact lenses, and to use hydrogen peroxide without a catalyst for a minimum of 6 hours for all other stock lens fitting sets, to specifically inquire about contact lens care habits used by their patients, and to discourage the use of homemade saline solutions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1654-1661
Number of pages8
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1987

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Supported in part by an unrestricted research grant from Research to Prevent Blindness, Inc, New York, New York.


  • Acanthamoeba keratitis
  • Brolene
  • Saturn lens
  • amoebic keratitis
  • contact lens disinfection
  • contact lens solution
  • corneal ulcer
  • hard contact lens
  • propamidine isethionate
  • ring ulcer
  • soft contact lens


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