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Eye inflammation.

Early inflammation due to Acanthamoeba keratitis. This can resemble keratitis caused by herpes simplex. (Photo courtesy of Dan B. Jones, M.D. )

Acanthamoeba keratitis varies greatly from person to person. Affected individuals may complain of

  • Eye pain
  • Eye redness
  • Blurred vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Sensation of something in the eye
  • Excessive tearing

Because there are similarities with symptoms of other eye infections, early diagnosis is essential for effective treatment of Acanthamoeba keratitis.

Disseminated infection can occur both with and without Granulomatous Amebic Encephalitis (GAE). Disseminated infection typically shows up as inflammation of the lungs or sinuses, and/or skin infections but has the potential to spread to the brain. Skin infections caused by Acanthamoeba can appear as reddish nodules, skin ulcers, or abscesses in the skin.

Symptoms of GAE include

  • Mental status changes
  • Loss of coordination
  • Fever
  • Muscular weakness or partial paralysis affecting one side of the body
  • Double vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Other neurologic problems

A square ad showing an infected eyeball with Acanthamoeba. The caption reads, "Delayed diagnosis means poorer outcomes - think Acanthamoeba keratitis."

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  • Page last reviewed: November 2, 2010 (archived document) The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
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