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May 1996

Effect of Adhered Bacteria on the Binding of Acanthamoeba to Hydrogel Lenses

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Biology, Georgia State University (Mr Gorlin and Drs Gabriel and Ahearn), and the Department of Ophthalmology, Emory University School of Medicine (Dr Wilson), Atlanta, Ga.

Arch Ophthalmol. 1996;114(5):576-580. doi:10.1001/archopht.1996.01100130568013

Objective:  To determine the effect of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus epidermidis on the binding of Acanthamoeba species to hydrogel lenses.

Methods:  Cells of amebae and bacteria were incubated with different types of hydrogel lenses. Densities of amebae that were bound to the lenses after rinsing were determined from direct counts with a cell detachment procedure and from scintillation counts of cells, which were radiolabeled with tritiated leucine.

Results:  With both methods, amebae showed significantly increased binding to hydrogel lenses with attached P aeruginosa. The numbers of amebae that were retained on lenses with attached S epidermidis were not significantly different from those that were retained on lenses without bacteria. The binding of amebae to unworn hydrogel lenses, in contrast to the irreversible adherence of P aeruginosa, was tenuous.

Conclusions:  The binding of Acanthamoeba species to unworn hydrogel lenses was tenuous and appeared to be related to water content, surface tensions, and ionic charge. The presence of adhered P aeruginosa on the hydrogel lenses facilitated the binding of Acanthamoeba species. The cocontamination of lens systems with bacteria (eg, P aeruginosa) may be a prime factor in the development of amebic keratitis.