Acanthamoeba Keratitis among Rigid Gas Permeable Contact Lens Wearers in the United States, 2005 through 2011

Jennifer R. Cope, Sarah A. Collier, Oliver D. Schein, Allison C. Brown, Jennifer R. Verani, Rachel Gallen, Michael J. Beach, Jonathan S. Yoder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Purpose To describe the clinical presentation and outcomes of Acanthamoeba keratitis (AK) in rigid gas permeable (RGP) contact lens wearers and to identify modifiable risk factors. Design Case-control investigation. Participants Patients were RGP contact lens-wearing United States residents with a diagnosis of AK from 2005 through 2011. Controls were RGP contact lens wearers with no history of AK who were at least 12 years of age. Methods Patients were identified during 2 multistate AK outbreak investigations. Controls from the first investigation in 2007 were identified using a reverse address directory. In the second investigation, controls were recruited from participating ophthalmology and optometry practices. Patients and controls were interviewed by phone using a standardized questionnaire. Odds ratios (ORs) and Fisher exact P values were calculated to assess risk factors associated with infection. Main Outcome Measures Acanthamoeba keratitis, a rare eye disease primarily affecting contact lens wearers, is caused by free-living amebae, Acanthamoeba species. Results We identified 37 patients in the 2 investigations, 10 (27%) from the 2007 investigation and 27 (73%) from 2011. There were 17 healthy controls, 9 (53%) from 2007 and 8 (47%) from 2011. Among patients, 9 (24%) wore RGP lenses for orthokeratology or therapeutic indication; no controls wore RGP lenses for these indications. Significant risk factors for AK were wearing lenses for orthokeratology (OR, undefined; P = 0.02), sleeping while wearing lenses (OR, 8.00; P = 0.04), storing lenses in tap water (OR, 16.00; P = 0.001), and topping off contact lens solution in the case (OR, 4.80; P = 0.01). After stratifying by use of RGP lenses for orthokeratology, storing lenses in tap water and topping off remained significant exposures. Conclusions Nearly one quarter of patients were orthokeratology wearers. Using tap water to store RGP lenses and topping off solution in the lens case were modifiable risk behaviors identified in RGP wearers who wore lenses for both orthokeratology and nonorthokeratology indications. Rigid gas permeable wearers should avoid exposing their lenses to tap water and should empty their cases and use fresh lens solution each time they take out their lenses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1435-1441
Number of pages7
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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