Severe Reactive Ischemic Posterior Segment Inflammation in Acanthamoeba Keratitis. A New Potentially Blinding Syndrome

Shady T. Awwad, Michelle Heilman, Robert N Hogan, Dipak N. Parmar, Walter M Petroll, James P McCulley, Harrison D Cavanagh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Objective: To describe a newly recognized clinical syndrome in Acanthamoeba keratitis consisting of severe reactive ischemic posterior segment vascular inflammation. Design: Noncomparative, retrospective, single-institution observational case series. Participants: Five eyes of 5 patients with Acanthamoeba keratitis. Methods: A retrospective review of the records of patients diagnosed with Acanthamoeba keratitis between January 1, 1995, and December 1, 2005, was conducted to identify those who underwent eventual enucleation. Five enucleated eyes of 118 eyes with Acanthamoeba keratitis were identified. Main Outcome Measures: History, clinical examination results, available laboratory study results, and histopathologic examination results. Results: Histopathologic examination showed Acanthamoeba cysts in the cornea in 4 eyes, whereas it failed to demonstrate amebic cysts or trophozoites in the posterior segment of all eyes studied and unexpectedly revealed chronic chorioretinal inflammation with perivascular lymphocytic infiltration and diffuse neuroretinal ischemia in 4 of 5 eyes. Retinal artery thrombosis was present in 3 of the 4 involved eyes, and central retinal artery and vein thrombosis was found in 1 eye. Hematologic studies in 3 patients showed abnormal anticardiolipin antibody levels in 1 patient and factor V Leiden deficiency in another. Conclusions: Prolonged Acanthamoeba keratitis can result in a severe sterile ischemic posterior segment inflammation that is potentially blinding, especially in patients with underlying hypercoagulation disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)313-320
Number of pages8
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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