Ongoing outbreak of rare eye infection found among contact lens wearers

Some patients with Acanthamoeba keratitis require cornea transplants.

Story highlights

  • Rates of Acanthamoeba keratitis, an infection of the cornea, tripled since 2011 in the southeast of England
  • Only 70% of patients are cured within 12 months, and some require cornea transplants

(CNN)An ongoing outbreak of a rare eye infection has been discovered in contact lens wearers in the UK, a new study reveals.

Researchers at University College London found that rates of Acanthamoeba keratitis, an infection of the cornea, have nearly tripled since 2011 in the southeast of England.
Infection with Acanthamoeba, a cyst-forming microorganism, causes an inflammation of the cornea. Symptoms include excessive pain and compromised vision.
    The disease is mostly preventable, said Dr. John Dart, a consultant ophthalmologist at Moorfields Eye Hospital who led the research.
    The infection is caused by the microorganism Acanthamoeba.
    "It was clear that there is a problem," he said. "Acanthamoeba keratitis is one of the worst corneal infections."
    Studies suggest that abo