Acanthamoeba as the name suggests is a naturally occurring amoebae (a tiny animal, single-cell) that is commonly found in water sources, such as tap water, hot tubs, swimming pools and dirty water coming from underground. Acanthamoeba infections in contact lens wearers are rare but serious, and often start because of ‘misuse of lenses and poor hygiene.
If these little parasites infect the eye, you can risk taking a dangerous pathology: the Acanthamoeba keratitis. This pathological condition has been diagnosed for the first time in 1973 and is caused in 90% of cases in people carrying contact lenses. To prevent Acanthamoeba keratitis you have to follow carefully lens care maintenance, and pay attention to the instructions you receive from your eye doctor.
Italian and European researchers have noted sporadic outbreaks of Acanthamoeba keratitis among contact lens wearers, which means that this disease is very common among people using these optical devices. US law says a risk 7 times higher than the norm of contracting Acanthamoeba keratitis associated to the ‘use of the solution for contact lenses‘ and suggested one of the contact lenses producer (AMO Complete MoisturePlu)s to withdraw its product from the market. The solution for contact lenses by itself is not contaminated, but has been shown to be ineffective in preventing Acanthamoeba keratitis.
Proper maintenance of contact lenses reduces the risk of eye infections related to lenses, including those caused by Acanthamoeba. Prevention is always the best approach, because the Acanthamoeba keratitis can be extremely difficult to treat in fact, sometimes these infections require a corneal transplant, which represents a serious and dangerous surgical procedure. More information about this infection on wikipedia.