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Clin Experiment Ophthalmol. 2010 Jan;38(1):15-20; quiz 87. doi: 10.1111/j.1442-9071.2009.02182.x.

Resurgence of Acanthamoeba keratitis in Auckland, New Zealand: a 7-year review of presentation and outcomes.

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  • 1Department of Ophthalmology, New Zealand National Eye Centre, University of Auckland, New Zealand.



To investigate the presentation, clinical characteristics and outcomes of Acanthamoeba keratitis (AK) in Auckland, New Zealand over a 7-year period.


Retrospective analysis of all cases of AK treated by the tertiary corneal service at Auckland City Hospital/ University of Auckland Department of Ophthalmology (August 2001 to May 2008). Data were collected regarding age, gender, contact lens history, presenting signs and symptoms, diagnosis at first presentation, time to final diagnosis, identifiable risk factors, presenting and final visual acuity, results of microbiological testing, medical treatment, surgical interventions, recurrence of disease and length of follow up. All photographs and in vivo confocal microscopy images were reviewed.


Twenty-five eyes of 25 patients were identified with a diagnosis of AK (mean age 40 +/- 13 years). Ninety-six per cent were contact lens wearers. Mean time to diagnosis was 41 +/- 49 days (range 0-181 days, median 21 days). Fourteen patients (56%) had been treated with topical corticosteroids prior to the diagnosis. Early diagnosis of AK (<21 days) was associated with significantly better final visual acuity and did not require any surgical intervention compared with those diagnosed at a later stage. Six patients, all in the late diagnosis group, required surgical intervention.


AK has become significantly more common in New Zealand in the current decade. This study highlights the fundamental importance of early diagnosis and appropriate management in ensuring favourable outcomes. Practitioners should maintain a clinical suspicion of AK, especially as 96% of the subjects in this study were contact lens wearers.

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