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Detection of acanthamoeba strains in the ocular surface of contact lens wearers using the schirmer strip test

Poster Details

First Author: J.Rodríguez-Martín SPAIN

Co Author(s):    J. Lorenzo-Morales   P. Rocha-Cabrera   M. Reyes-Batlle   A. Lopez-Arencibia   C. Wagner-Abuchaibe   I. Sifaoui

Abstract Details

Purpose:

The aim of this study was to determine the presence of Acanthamoeba in the ocular surface of healthy patients who are contact lens wearers using sterile Schirmer test strips. In view of the devastating nature of this disease, the study of this presence in a population at risk of suffering acanthamoeba keratitis may be a potential target for preventive therapeutic interventions and to prevent the need for surgical procedures such as penetrating keratoplasty.

Setting:

Free living amoebae of Acanthamoeba genus are causal agents of a severe sight-threating infection of the cornea known as acanthamoeba keratitis (AK). AK has remained significant, and is often associated with an improper handling of contact lenses, such as poor hygiene or extended use over time.

Methods:

All samples included in the study were collected with the Schirmer test under aseptic conditions from the ocular surface of a group of 50 individuals attending a local ophthalmology consultation. In some cases, contact lenses and their cases were also investigated for the presence of amoebae. The samples were collected in sterile conditions and were quickly seeded in 2% non-Nutrient Agar plates. The positive samples were then transferred to axenic conditions for further molecular analysis.

Results:

We obtained a 14% of free living amoeba positive in the samples from the ocular surface of the contact lenses wearer, but the most important fact here is that 12% found are genotype T4, that is the most important worldwide AK-causing strains. In some samples we observed the presence of other microorganisms, like bacteria or fungi, the latter being the most abundant.

Conclusions:

To conclude, the Schirmer strip test is proposed as an effective tool for the detection of Acanthamoeba in ocular surface and also as a tool to isolate Acanthamoeba strains from healthy patients, who are contact lens wearers. The study of this presence in a population at risk of suffering AK may be a potential target for preventive therapeutic interventions and in view of the devastating nature of this disease to prevent the need for surgical procedures such as penetrating keratoplasty. FINANCIAL DISCLOUSRE: NONE

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