Repertoire of free-living protozoa in contact lens solutions

BMC Ophthalmol. 2016 Oct 29;16(1):191. doi: 10.1186/s12886-016-0370-6.


Background: The repertoire of free-living protozoa in contact lens solutions is poorly known despite the fact that such protozoa may act as direct pathogens and may harbor intra-cellular pathogens.

Methods: Between 2009 and 2014, the contact lens solutions collected from patients presenting at our Ophthalmology Department for clinically suspected keratitis, were cultured on non-nutrient agar examined by microscope for the presence of free-living protozoa. All protozoa were identified by 18S rRNA gene sequencing.

Results: A total of 20 of 233 (8.6 %) contact lens solution specimens collected from 16 patients were cultured. Acanthamoeba amoeba in 16 solutions (80 %) collected from 12 patients and Colpoda steini, Cercozoa sp., Protostelium sp. and a eukaryotic more closely related to Vermamoeba sp., were each isolated in one solution. Cercozoa sp., Colpoda sp., Protostelium sp. and Vermamoeba sp. are reported for the first time as contaminating contact lens solutions.

Conclusion: The repertoire of protozoa in contact lens solutions is larger than previously known.

Keywords: Acanthamoeba; Contact lens solution; Keratitis; Protozoa.

MeSH terms

  • Acanthamoeba / isolation & purification
  • Amoebida / genetics
  • Amoebida / isolation & purification*
  • Bacteria / isolation & purification
  • Contact Lens Solutions / analysis*
  • Contact Lenses / microbiology
  • Contact Lenses / parasitology*
  • Female
  • Fungi / isolation & purification
  • Humans
  • Keratitis / microbiology
  • Keratitis / parasitology*
  • Male
  • Phylogeny
  • Prospective Studies
  • Protozoan Infections / parasitology*
  • RNA, Protozoan / analysis
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 18S / analysis


  • Contact Lens Solutions
  • RNA, Protozoan
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 18S