ACANTHAMOEBA KERATITIS - Overview , Facts, Types, Symptoms

ACANTHAMOEBA KERATITIS

Acanthamoeba keratitis is a rare kind of eye infection that causes harm, such as permanent blindness. As reported by the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention, the species Acanthamoeba is an omnipresent microscopic organism found in soil or lake water. These organisms could also be detected in hot tubs, swimming pools, and even in drinking water. 

Numerous individuals are exposed to Acanthamoeba. However, few of them will only become contaminated as they repeatedly rinse off. 

Furthermore, infection or contamination of Acanthamoeba keratitis can transpire through eye injuries or cuts, poor hygiene (regarding eye health practice), and exposure to contaminated soil or water. 

SYMPTOMS

The symptoms of Acanthamoeba keratitis vary for every person. Some may experience all symptoms, and others may not. Symptoms like:

  • Redness and pain in the eye
  • Blurred vision 
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Excessive tearing
  • Severe headaches

If you are going through any of these symptoms, don’t disregard them. Seek immediate medical help and mention if you have been exposed to soil or water. Every detail that you can provide your health care provider may help.

DIAGNOSIS

The diagnosis of Acanthamoeba keratitis will start from your symptoms, your history, and thorough physical examination. 

It is important to get an early diagnosis for Acanthamoeba keratitis for a successful treatment. This is diagnosed by an ophthalmologist, depending on your symptoms. It may include examining the development of ameba through scrapings from the eyes, and detecting the ameba through confocal microscopy. 

Two conditions that are caused by Acanthamoeba are Granulomatous Amebic Encephalitis (GAE) and disseminated infection. These two disorders are more challenging to diagnose and are frequently detected at the advanced phases.

Upon experiencing any of these symptoms, we recommend to seek your doctor immediately.  This is to help you diagnose and treat your condition properly and avoid any complications. 

TREATMENT

Acanthamoeba keratitis is hard to treat. However, an early diagnosis can help save one’s eye. Moreover, the treatment for this condition depends on its stage. If you’re in an early stage, treatment may include topical anti-infective agents. Meanwhile, surgical intervention is needed for the later stages.

Research shows that Acanthamoeba keratitis effectively treats a person with contact lenses by applying a six-month therapy of topical metronidazole, neomycin, miconazole, and prednisolone. Furthermore, most people wearing contact lenses should be cautious while cleaning up the lenses. They must not use saline or tap water to clean it. 

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