Objectives: To determine the effect of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus epidermidis on the binding of Acanthamoeba species to hydrogel lenses.
Methods: Cells of amebae and bacteria were incubated with different types of hydrogel lenses. Densities of amebae that were bound to the lenses after rinsing were determined from direct counts with a cell detachment procedure and from scintillation counts of cells, which were radiolabeled with tritiated leucine.
Results: With both methods, amebae showed significantly increased binding to hydrogel lenses with attached P aeruginosa. The numbers of amebae that were retained on lenses with attached S epidermidis were not significantly different from those that were retained on lenses without bacteria. The binding of amebae to unworn hydrogel lenses, in contrast to the irreversible adherence of P aeruginosa, was tenuous.
Conclusions: The binding of Acanthamoeba species to unworn hydrogel lenses was tenuous and appeared to be related to water content, surface tensions, and ionic charge. The presence of adhered P aeruginosa on the hydrogel lenses facilitated the binding of Acanthamoeba species. The cocontamination of lens systems with bacteria (eg, P aeruginosa) may be a prime factor in the development of amebic keratitis.