The use of dimethyl sulfoxide in contact lens disinfectants is a potential preventative strategy against contracting Acanthamoeba keratitis

Cont Lens Anterior Eye. 2016 Oct;39(5):389-93. doi: 10.1016/j.clae.2016.04.004. Epub 2016 Apr 28.


Acanthamoeba castellanii is the causative agent of blinding keratitis. Though reported in non-contact lens wearers, it is most frequently associated with improper use of contact lens. For contact lens wearers, amoebae attachment to the lens is a critical first step, followed by amoebae binding to the corneal epithelial cells during extended lens wear. Acanthamoeba attachment to surfaces (biological or inert) and migration is an active process and occurs during the trophozoite stage. Thus retaining amoebae in the cyst stage (dormant form) offers an added preventative measure in impeding parasite traversal from the contact lens onto the cornea. Here, we showed that as low as 3% DMSO, abolished A. castellanii excystation. Based on the findings, it is proposed that DMSO should be included in the contact lens disinfectants as an added preventative strategy against contracting Acanthamoeba keratitis.

Keywords: A. castellanii; Dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO); Encystation; Excystation.

MeSH terms

  • Acanthamoeba Keratitis / etiology
  • Acanthamoeba Keratitis / parasitology*
  • Acanthamoeba Keratitis / prevention & control*
  • Acanthamoeba castellanii / drug effects*
  • Amebicides / administration & dosage
  • Amebicides / chemistry
  • Contact Lens Solutions / administration & dosage
  • Contact Lens Solutions / chemistry*
  • Contact Lenses / adverse effects
  • Contact Lenses / parasitology*
  • Dimethyl Sulfoxide / administration & dosage*
  • Dimethyl Sulfoxide / chemistry
  • Disinfection / methods
  • Drug Compounding / methods
  • Equipment Contamination / prevention & control
  • Humans


  • Amebicides
  • Contact Lens Solutions
  • Dimethyl Sulfoxide