Send to

Choose Destination
Ophthalmic Physiol Opt. 2016 Mar;36(2):77-92. doi: 10.1111/opo.12271. Epub 2015 Dec 21.

Strategies for the prevention of contact lens-related Acanthamoeba keratitis: a review.

Author information

Save Sight Institute, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia.
School of Optometry and Vision Science, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.



Acanthamoeba keratitis is a severe, often sight threatening, corneal infection which in Western countries is predominantly seen in daily wear of contact lenses. This review aims to summarise the pathobiology and epidemiology of contact lens-related Acanthamoeba keratitis, and to present strategies for prevention, particularly with respect to modifiable risk factors in contact lens wear.


The virulence of Acanthamoeba and resistance to treatment in keratitis appears to be linked with the production of a low molecular weight protease MIP133 by the organism, in response to binding to corneal epithelial cells through a mannose binding protein, and to the ability of the organism to convert from the trophozoite to the resistant cyst form. Recent epidemiological studies in contact lens relate disease have confirmed the link between solution topping up and Acanthamoeba keratitis and have reinforced the importance of avoidance of tap water, either as part of the care for the contact lens or storage case, handling lenses with wet hands or showering while wearing lenses. In the most recent analysis from the USA, there were no strong effects for solution type, water source or water disinfection process. Wearer age, lens wear time and history to appear to be linked with Acanthamoeba keratitis. Daily disposable contact lens use would be expected to reduce the prevalence of Acanthamoeba disease although this is unproven.


While Acanthamoeba keratitis remains challenging to diagnose and manage, strategies to limit the disease severity in contact lens wearers should include attention to recently identified risk factors, particularly those related to water contact. Public health awareness measures, the use of daily disposable contact lenses, a better understanding of the contribution of the host immunity and the development of standardised methods for culture of amoeba and testing of contact lens care systems against Acanthamoeba in the licensing process may be of value. Alternative treatments for the future may include those which target the mannose binding protein or the genes which control conversion to the cyst form.


Acanthamoeba; care systems; contact lens; corneal infection; daily disposables; water

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center