Iranian Journal of Parasitology 2014. 9(1):14-19.

Potentially pathogenic free-living amoebae in contact lenses of the asymptomatic contact lens wearers.
Maryam Niyyati, Firoozeh Rahimi, Zohreh Lasejerdi, Mostafa Rezaeian



Background: Free-living amoebae (FLA) including Acanthamoeba spp. and Hartmannella spp. are the causative agents of serious corneal infection especially within contact lens wearers. Thus contact lenses and their storage case could be a suitable niche for potentially pathogenic amoebae. The main objective of the present study was to evaluate the contamination of contact lenses to free living amoebae using morphological and sequencing based methods.

Methods: Overall, 90 volunteers provided their contact lenses. All volunteers wore soft contact lenses. Both lenses were cultured in the same plate. Forty-eight of the volunteers were medical and dentistry student and 42 were oph-thalmology attendees of hospitals in Tehran, Iran. All of the samples were in-oculated to non-nutrient medium and monitored daily for the outgrowth of the amoebae. PCR and sequencing were performed using various primer pairs.

Results: Of the 90 volunteers, 9 (10%) were positive for free-living amoebae outgrowth. Morphological analysis revealed that 3 isolates were belonged to Hartmannella genus according to small round cysts and 6 isolates were belonged to Acanthamoeba genus based on the star shape of endocysts. Sequencing re-vealed that Acanthamoeba belonged to T4, T3 and T5 genotype. Hartmannella were also belonged to vermiformis species.

Discussion: The presence of potentially pathogenic free living amoebae includ-ing Acanthamoeba and Hartmannella could be a high risk for people using soft contact lenses. These results revealed that improved clarification and profes-sional recommendations for contact lens wearers is of utmost importance.


Acanthamoeba; Asymptomatic; Contact lenses; Hartmannella

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