Recent advances in the treatment of Acanthamoeba keratitis

Clin Infect Dis. 2002 Aug 15;35(4):434-41. doi: 10.1086/341487. Epub 2002 Jul 16.


Infection of the eye caused by Acanthamoeba species constitutes a burgeoning and unsolved problem. Of individuals with Acanthamoeba keratitis, 85% wear contact lenses; abrasion of the cornea is implicated. Corneal infection often can be prevented by good lens care and hygiene. Severe Acanthamoeba keratitis often can be very difficult to treat; surgery can be less than successful and may lead to further problems. The encysted stage in the life cycle of Acanthamoeba species appears to cause the most problems; many biocides are ineffective in killing the highly resistant cysts. Combination therapy--that is, use of 2 or 3 biocides, sometimes with antibacterial antibiotics--appears to work best. Recurrence is common if treatment is stopped prematurely. Immunologic methods are being investigated as a form of prevention, and oral immunization of animals recently has been successful in the prevention of Acanthamoeba keratitis by inducing immunity before infection occurs. Immunization thus may eventually become the best approach for reduction of the incidence of amebic infection in humans.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acanthamoeba Keratitis / epidemiology
  • Acanthamoeba Keratitis / immunology
  • Acanthamoeba Keratitis / physiopathology
  • Acanthamoeba Keratitis / therapy*
  • Acanthamoeba* / drug effects
  • Acanthamoeba* / immunology
  • Acanthamoeba* / pathogenicity
  • Animals
  • Antiprotozoal Agents / pharmacology
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Corneal Transplantation
  • Drug Resistance
  • Humans
  • Immunization*
  • Implosive Therapy


  • Antiprotozoal Agents