Acanthamoeba keratitis, pathology, diagnosis and treatment

Nicholas Fanselow, Nadia Sirajuddin, Xiao Tang Yin, Andrew J.W. Huang, Patrick M. Stuart

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Acanthamoeba keratitis is an unusual corneal infection that is recently increasing in frequency and is often contracted by contact lens wearers, someone who experienced recent eye trauma, or someone exposed to contaminated waters. Acanthamoeba survive in air, soil, dust, and water. Therefore, eye trauma and poor contact lens hygiene practices lead to the entrapment of debris and thus infection. Acanthamoeba keratitis results in severe eye pain, inflammation, and defects of the epithelium and stroma that can potentially result in vision loss if not diagnosed early and treated promptly. The disease can be diagnosed using corneal scrape/biopsy, polymerase chain reactions, impression cytology, or in vivo confocal microscopy. Once diagnosed, it is usually treated with an antimicrobial combination therapy of biguanide and aromatic diadine eye drops for several months. Advanced stages of the disease result in vision loss and the need for corneal transplants. Avoiding the risk factors and diagnosing the disease early are the most effective ways to combat Acanthamoeba keratitis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number323
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • Acanthamoeba
  • Diagnosis
  • Keratitis
  • Pathogenesis
  • Therapy


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