Rapid diagnosis of acanthamoeba keratitis using non-nutrient agar with a lawn of E. coli

Samuel Borin*, Ilan Feldman, Shifra Ken-Dror, Daniel Briscoe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background: A patient presented with a corneal foreign body in his only eye. He was treated with prophylactic antibiotics and sent home, but deteriorated. Findings: He returned to the hospital 5 days later, and on slit-lamp examination, there was ciliary injection, corneal oedema and a 1 mm × 1 mm corneal abscess with mild anterior uveitis. Corneal scrapings were taken for culture on a non-nutrient agar with a lawn of Escherichia coli, on chocolate agar and on blood agar. He was treated with fortified gentamicin and cefazolin drops. He improved and was discharged 4 days after admission. On day 5, the culture results showed acanthamoeba. He was brought back to the hospital and treated with hourly chlorhexidine drops, ofloxacin six times daily and neomycin/dexamethasone drops once daily. On day 7, he was discharged to continue treatment at home, at which time his visual acuity in that eye was 6/9, and slit-lamp examination showed punctate keratitis and a stromal opacity with mild peripheral infiltration. Conclusions: Culture on non-nutrient agar with a lawn of E. coli is a rapid, reliable and less invasive alternative to corneal biopsy for the diagnosis of acanthamoeba infection. We suggest using this method where acanthamoeba is suspected. Owing to the risk of corneal abscess, orthokeratology should be avoided in an amblyopic patient or an only eye. Acanthamoeba infection may be masked by other eye diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Article number40
Pages (from-to)1-2
Number of pages2
JournalJournal of Ophthalmic Inflammation and Infection
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Acanthamoeba
  • Cornea
  • Corneal ulcer
  • Culture
  • Keratitis
  • Orthokeratology


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