The free-living amoeba Acanthamoeba castellanii is a rare cause of contact lens–associated microbial keratitis. The cyst stage of this amoeba is noted for its resistance to disinfection by multipurpose contact lens solutions (MPS). This report examines and reviews the potential survival modes of A. castellanii in MPS.
Trophozoites of A. castellanii (ATCC 30234) at densities from 104 to near 106 were incubated in 3 different MPS in a laminar flow hood for 24 hours at ambient temperatures. The dried films of MPS and phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) controls were examined before and after the addition of a peptone-yeast extract-glucose recovery broth (PYG) for the presence of amoeboid trophozoites and resistance stages over at least 7 days. The parallel exposure of trophozoites to MPS without evaporation or addition of PYG was similarly examined.
Amoeboid trophozoites were not recovered in PYG nor were cyst-like structures observed in any MPS with near 104 densities. Progressively with 105 to 106 trophozoites, varied survival modes, particularly aggregates of trophozoites associated with cyst-like structures and occasional amoeboid forms and double-walled cysts with ostioles, became more evident. These morphotypes were most prominent after evaporation and typically first observed in the PYG.
Trophozoites of A. castellanii near 105 and progressively to 106 densities are capable of expressing a variety of “short-term” survival modes in MPS, notably with the added stress of evaporation. Expression of these alternate survival modes in MPS may relate, in part, to contamination of contact lens cases and difficulties in developing standardized MPS efficacy tests.