Acanthemoeba keratitis is a microscopic , free living ameba or single cell organism that is scarce but causes a serious eye irritation and other infections of the eye that could result into permanent visual impairment or blindness. Acanthemoeba causes acanthamoeba keratitis which infects the cornea that is the transparent outer covering of the eye. Acanthamoeba amebas are so popular in nature and are found in water bodies such as lakes, oceans and rivers, soil and air.
It contains 2 stages in the life-cycle and is best described in the chart as below.
|Stage of Life-cycle|
|Description of the stage|
|Trophozoite stage||At this stage, the amoeba feeds, multiplies and grows. Trophozoite means ‘animal that feeds’ in Greek. At this point the Acanthamoeba causes infections of the eye.|
|Cyst stage||It is the reluctant stage or dormant stage in which amoeba shows less activity. A protective wall is built to protect the amoeba survive in all unfavorable conditions.|
HOW IT CAN INFECT HUMANS AND ANIMALS
Acanthamoeba Keratitis infects the eyes of either the animal or human being and it could cause permanent blindness or visual impairment. Acanthamoeba keratitis infects the central nervous system thus leading to death be it in the long run or short run meaning that even those that go for treatment do end up repeating similar mistakes such as scratching the eye when an object falls onto the eye. Animals are infected the most since in most cases they stay like in a kraal or pig style for cows and pigs responsibly therefore contact cannot be avoided.
SYMPTOMS AFTER ONE IS INFECTED
The symptoms are very similar to those of the eye infections .Some symptoms that stay for several months and weeks are;
One gets severe eye pains that inline gives massive headaches that could affect activities for example if a student gets this eye pain, he/she may not even attend lectures. This is caused from several sclerosis, viral infections or bacterial infections thus causing symptoms such as visual changes that is exacted behind the eye.
It is assign of a more serious eye condition or disease for example uveitis or glaucoma that is usually is caused by allergy, over-wearing of contact lenses or common eye infections such as conjunctivitis which is also known as the pink eye.
This affects either one or both eyes that is to say one reaches appoint where he or she cannot see clearly even the nearest that is to say 1cm away from the eye. This could be a symptom of myopia which is the most common refractive mistake.
Sensitivity to light
This is when one cannot tolerate or is not comfortable with light be it deem or bright regardless of the light source be it sunlight, fluorescent or incandescent light. It is medically known as photophobia. Symptoms are worse with bright light for one feels the eyes burning and could cause nausea, headaches and a need to close the eyes.
Sensation of something in the eye
This sensation arises from the cornea which is the clear part of the eye that we use for seeing. People are brought to the ophthalmologist because of this sensation of something in the eye. It is also referred to as a foreign body sensation. Any situation could cause one to scratch on the cornea which can lead to this symptom.
Watery eyes are irritating and troublesome although they are things that could worry someone so much that is to say it is mainly because of excessive tear production or poor tear drainage. Our eyes tear because they need lubrication and this helps remove any foreign bodies that fall onto them. Tear drainage is affected especially when the body produces several tears.
Quick diagnosis is key for an effective treatment of Acanthamoeba keratitis. Eye care providers normally diagnosis this infection based on the growth and symptom of the Acanthamoeba ameba. This is from confocal microscopy which is a process of scraping the eye and or viewing the ameba. Several or one prescription of the type of medications is given to treat this infection. Eye care specialists provide and advise the best treatment option for the patients.
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