Effect of ethanol pretreatment in acanthamoeba keratitis: A long-term follow-up study

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Purpose: The aim of this study was to evaluate the long-term outcomes of ethanol pretreatment in Acanthamoeba keratitis (AK). Patients and methods: This single-center, retrospective, interventional study included 22 patients (24 eyes) who developed AK and underwent ethanol pretreatment between 2009 and 2015. Samples for smears, polymerase chain reaction, and culture for evidence of Acanthamoeba were collected. After ethanol pretreatment, the patients were treated with corneal epithelial debridement, topical 0.02% polyhexamethylene biguanide, and 0.1% propamidine isethionate. The primary outcomes were a clinically stable ocular surface, complete recovery from corneal infection, and acceptable corneal haze. The secondary outcome measure was improvement in best-corrected visual acuity. Complications and predictors of the visual outcome were also recorded. Results: Ethanol pretreatment was successful in 20 (83.3%) of the 24 eyes, and no further optical keratoplasty was required. Four eyes required rescue therapeutic keratoplasty because of rapid progression of AK. Patients in whom ethanol pretreatment was successful achieved good final visual outcomes regardless of sex, age, or causative Acanthamoeba species. Patients with worse initial best-corrected visual acuity and rigid gas permeable lens-related AK had better improvement in vision. Conclusion: Ethanol as a pretreatment for AK is safe and effective. Combined with corneal epithelial debridement, ethanol pretreatment may preclude the need for optical and therapeutic keratoplasty. This technique is suitable for all stages of AK presenting within 3 weeks of symptom onset and achieves favorable results especially in early AK.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)937-943
Number of pages7
JournalInfection and Drug Resistance
Publication statusPublished - 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmacology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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