Acanthamoeba keratitis in a U.S. army soldier after unauthorized use of contact lenses in the combat theater

Kraig S. Bower, Steven J. Donnelly, Richard D. Stutzman, Thomas P. Ward, Eric Weber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


A 25-year-old active duty Army E-5 developed severe infectious keratitis in his left eye secondary to soft contact lens (CL) wear while deployed in Iraq, necessitating evacuation to Walter Reed Army Medical Center for further evaluation and treatment. Initial clinical examination at Walter Reed Army Medical Center was suggestive of Acanthamoeba keratitis, a serious corneal pathogen associated with CL wear. In vivo confocal microscopy demonstrated Acanthamoeba cysts in the epithelium and anterior stroma, and smears and cultures from an epithelial biopsy specimen confirmed the diagnosis of Acanthamoeba keratitis. To our knowledge this is the first reported case of Acanthamoeba keratitis in a soldier wearing CLs in the combat theater. Because of the inability to maintain proper lens hygiene in a combat or field environment, the risk of developing a potentially sight-threatening corneal infection is significant. This unfortunate case of a devastating eye infection serves as a reminder of the current Army policy, which prohibits the use of CLs during gas chamber exercises, field training, and combat.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)833-837
Number of pages5
JournalMilitary medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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