AAO aims to raise Acanthamoeba keratitis awareness

August 19, 2014

In an attempt to combat the risk of eye infections in contact lens wearers, the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) has joined up with the FDA, the Contact Lens Association of Ophthalmologists, the American Academy of Optometry, and the American Optometric Association.

 

San Francisco-In an attempt to combat the risk of eye infections in contact lens wearers, the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) has joined up with the FDA, the Contact Lens Association of Ophthalmologists, the American Academy of Optometry, and the American Optometric Association.

The organizations will jointly sponsor a contact lens microbiology workshop in Silver Spring, MD, on Sept. 12 aimed at preventing Acanthamoeba keratitis-an infection among contact lens wearers that causes severe eye pain, redness, light sensitivity, and potential vision loss.

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While cases rarely occur, they can be difficult to diagnose and treat. Recent research found it takes an average of 27 days to diagnose Acanthamoeba, with 33% of the patients requiring a cornea transplant.

At the workshop, scientists, clinicians, and industry experts will discuss methods for testing how effective contact lens-care products are at disinfecting against the infection, as well as other topics, such as emerging microbial threats.

 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the FDA issued a patient alert about the infection in 2007 after 138 cases emerged following sales of a new multipurpose contact lens solution, which was then recalled by the manufacturer. According to the AAO, the infections created a growing concern over the organism and how to test for its presence in contact lens products.

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Currently, there remains no required, standardized test method for disinfection efficacy against microbes like Acanthamoeba in contact lens products, the AAO said.

“While Acanthamoeba keratitis is rare, any cases are of concern as we currently do not have an FDA-approved, commercially available therapy for this type of infection,” said Thomas Steinemann, MD, the AAO’s representative at the workshop and an ophthalmology professor at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH. “The course of treatment is long and unpleasant, and patients do have a chance of losing their vision.”

The workshop, “Revamping Microbiological Test Methods for Contact Lenses, Products, and Accessories to Protect Health and Ensure Safety,” will take place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the FDA White Oak Campus.

Registration for attending in person or via webcast is now open and costs $250 for members of sponsor organizations and $400 for non-members.

To register or learn more about the event, visit www.clwkshop.org.

 

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