Diagnosis of Acanthamoeba corneal infection by impression cytology: case report

To describe three cases of corneal infection due to Acanthamoeba sp in which was possible to detect Acanthamoeba sp cysts by the corneal impression cytology technique. Three patients referred to the External Eye Disease Laboratory in 2004 with superficial corneal alterations were submitted to corneal specimen collection by impression cytology filter paper to investigate the presence of Acanthamoeba sp cysts. Two impression cytology samples were obtained from each patient and were stained by PAS, hematoxylin and Papanicolaou. Routine microbiological investigation and culture were also performed using corneal scraping. Positive culture and impression cytology for Acanthamoeba sp was observed in all patients while smears with Giemsa stain were positive in two. Impression cytology Acanthamoeba sp cysts were observed among sheets of corneal epithelial cells and as isolated cells. Cysts were also found in the superficial epithelium in one of these patients after treatment while corneal scraping did not reveal any cyst. Histopathology revealed cysts in the epithelium and stroma in a transplanted cornea in one of these patients. The first description of impression cytology as a diagnostic method for Acanthamoeba keratitis occurred recently. In this study corneal impression cytology detected Acanthamoeba sp cysts successfully in these patients with only superficial involvement. Impression cytology as a non invasive technique can be used to facilitate early recognition of Acanthamoeba infection playing a useful role in the follow-up of the disease.

Acanthamoeba keratitis; Corneal diseases; Cytological techniques; Diagnostic techniques ophthalmological; Case Reports

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