Acanthamoeba keratitis refers to a serious infection of the eye that occurs rarely. A tiny microorganism named amoeba is involved in causing this infection. It occurs commonly in people who use contact lenses. But anyone can get the symptoms of this infection.
It can cause vision loss or complete blindness in people. Do not leave it untreated ever if you are diagnosed with acanthamoeba keratitis. This infection affects the area of your cornea. Amoeba starts entering the area of your eye.
This single-celled organism starts eating the layers of cornea present in your eye. That’s how it destroys the tissues of your eye as it moves in that area. Acanthamoeba is common in the oceans, air, soil, and lakes. Most infections come through water.
It includes swimming pools, showers, tap water, sewage systems, and hot tubs. Acanthamoeba keratitis is uncommon but it can cause eye pain and permanent blindness. You can get this infection in one or both eyes. This is not contagious.
The question arises of who is at risk of getting this infection. The answer is anyone can develop this infection. But it is common in people who use soft contact lenses. You are vulnerable to developing acanthamoeba keratitis in the following cases.
- If you used to clean your contact lenses with saline or tap water instead of a solution that is infected, you are at risk of developing acanthamoeba keratitis.
- You are at risk if you come into contact with water that has the microorganism amoeba.
- If you do not handle or store your contact lenses properly, you are at risk of developing an infection.
- If your cornea is damaged in the past ever, you are vulnerable to developing acanthamoeba keratitis.
- If you take shower or swim using contact lenses, you are at risk of developing acanthamoeba keratitis.
The condition of acanthamoeba keratitis is rare. It is more uncommon in people who do not use contact lenses. See your doctor if you think you are developing the symptoms of acanthamoeba keratitis.
The acanthamoeba is involved in causing this type of eye infection. The amoeba sticks to the cells present on the outer area of your cornea. It can also use small corneal abrasions to enter the area of your eye. This infection damages the cells.
It further starts moving in the area of the cornea. Here, it destroys the layers of your cornea. That’s the reason people experience sometimes permanent loss of vision when they leave this condition untreated.
There are certain symptoms of acanthamoeba keratitis. If you have this eye infection you may suffer from eye redness and pain, vision loss or blurred vision, dirty-looking cornea, watery eyes, and sensation of something in your eye.
You can also develop whitish rings in the surface area of your eye. When the acanthamoeba enters your eye, you may take several weeks to have symptoms of it.
We recommend you immediately consult your doctor if you suspect that you are having the symptoms of acanthamoeba keratitis. If you leave it untreated, you can get total blindness. There are some other complications of last-stage acanthamoeba.
You can get inflammation in the middle layer of your eye that is called anterior uveitis at the last stage of acanthamoeba keratitis. It can lead to iris atrophy that is the displacement of your pupil. Moreover, it can lead to mature cataracts.
This is the condition in which the clear lens of your eye becomes clouded completely. Another complication of scleritis is the inflammation that occurs in the area of your sclera. It is a white area of your eye. People with acanthamoeba keratitis can have secondary glaucoma.
In this condition, the optic nerve of your eye becomes damaged. These all issues can affect your vision. A healthcare provider is specialized in human eye care like opthalmologist or optometrist. In case of severe issues, go to these healthcare providers.
They work to diagnose your eye issues related to acanthamoeba keratitis. They review your symptoms and ask you about the hygiene of your contact lenses. Misdiagnosis of the infection is easy. The reason is that symptoms match the corneal disease.
It is necessary to report your healthcare provider if you have been using contaminated water. Tests for They work to diagnose your eye issues related to acanthamoeba keratitis. Tests for acanthamoeba keratitis include corneal scraping and confocal microscopy.