Acanthamoeba keratitis is a serious, rare, and painful eye condition which affects the cornea of the eye, the transparent part of the eye through which the light enters. The condition is caused by a single-cell amoeba, Acanthamoeba, and prolonged infection can result in loss of vision.
The role of Acanthamoeba in causing diseases in humans was discovered in 1970. Acanthamoeba is the cause of 3 disease conditions in humans, one of them being Acanthamoeba keratitis; it was reported for the first time in 1973.
Acanthamoeba are ubiquitous and can be found in air, water, and earth. The amoeba can also be found in heating/ventilation/air conditioners (HVAC), sewage systems, and air coolers. Individuals who wear contact lenses are more likely to be infected with the parasite, however a large number of cases have been reported in individuals who do not wear contact lenses.
Early diagnosis of Acanthamoeba keratitis is necessary to ensure prompt treatment and therefore prevent damage to the cornea. Treatment can last from several months to even a year.