Corneal Epithelial Scraping (Identification of Acanthamoeba)

Acanthamoeba keratitis may mimic herpes simplex keratitis. The prevalence of this infection may be greater than suspected previously

Our laboratory developed a rapid screen for the identification of Acanthamoeba organisms in corneal epithelial scrapings.

Our lab staff can answer questions for you about the proper techniques required for this rapid screening test.


Acanthamoeba trophozoite nested between two benign corneal epithelial cells. The specimen was obtained from a corneal epithelial scraping. Hematoxylin-eosin stain.


  • Mathers WD, Sutphin JE, Folberg,R, Meier PA, Wenzel RP, Elgin RG: Outbreak of keratitis presumed to be due to Acanthamoeba. Am J Ophthalmol 121: 129-142, 1996.
  • Mathers WD, Goldberg MA, Sutphin JE, Ditkoff JW, Folberg R: Coexistent Acanthamoeba keratitis and herpetic keratitis. Arch Ophthalmol 115: 714-718, 1997.
  • Meier PA, Mathers WD, Sutphin JE, Folberg R, Hwang T, Wenzel RP: Epidemic keratitis: results of a case-control investigation. Arch Ophthalmol 126: 373-378, 1998.
  • Mathers WD, Sutphin JE, Lane J, Folberg R: Correlation between surface water contamination with amoeba and the onset of symptoms and diagnosis of amoeba-like keratitis. Br J Ophthalmol 82:1143-1146, 1998.
  • Gardner LM, Mathers WD, Folberg R: New technique for the cytologic identification of presumed Acanthamoeba from corneal epithelial scrapings. Am J Ophthalmol 1999;127:207-209.

More Questions?

If you have more questions about the rapid detection of Acanthamoeba organisms from corneal epithelial scrapings, please contact one of us:

Ophthalmic Pathologists

Robert Folberg, MD, FCAP, Director

Deepak P. Edward, MD

Consultation Coordinator

Marnie Pomeroy





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