Diagnosis and cytopathogenicity of Ancanthamoeba, Vahlkampfia and Hartmannella in corneal tissue
Acanthamoeba may cause a painful, potentially blinding, opportunistic infection of the cornea. The incidence of Acanthamoeba keratitis has increased in line with contact lens usage. Only in the last five years, however, has it been recognised that amoebae other than Acanthamoeba may also be associated with keratitis. Several reports implicating Vahlkampfia and Hartmannella now exist. These relatively unknown genera of free-living amoebae had not previously been recognised as causal agents of disease. This thesis investigated the pathogenicity of Acanthamoeba for corneal cells and tissue in vitro, compared, both quantitatively and qualitatively, to that of Vahlkampfla and Hartmannella isolates from a case of amoebal keratitis, termed V-EYE and H-EYE (Aitken et al, 1995). Problems pertinent to the diagnosis of Acanthamoeba, Vahlkampfta and Hartmannella species (sp) in human corneal tissue were also addressed.