Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Does Confocal Microscopy Help Detect Acanthamoeba Keratitis?

Confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM or LSCM) is a valuable tool for obtaining high resolution images and 3-D reconstructions. The key feature of confocal microscopy is its ability to produce blur-free images of thick specimens at various depths.

According to an article in Healthy For Life on Eye Infection Detection

If you wear contacts, your risk of getting a blinding eye infection goes up. Until recently there has been no easy way to diagnose the infection, but, a new technique is helping patients keep their eyesight.

Lori McRae used to live in darkness.

Lori McRae Had eye parasite infection
"We put black plastic over all the windows, and basically tried to shut out all light in the house."

She was in extreme pain and losing sight in one eye. She went to six different doctors before getting the correct diagnosis - a parasite called Acanthamoeba

William Mathers, M.D.
Oregon Health & Science University
Portland, OR
"It's extremely common. There's amoeba everywhere. It's in our drinking water. It's all in the soil, and in all water."

Lori doesn't know how she got the infection. The amoeba could have been in the water when she washed her hands before putting in her contacts.

Whatever the cause, she was lucky to find doctor mathers. He uses a special microscope to look for the infection.

William Mathers, M.D.
"We can actually see the organisms in the eye, living in the eye without hurting the person at all.

The more common way to diagnose the infection is to culture the amoeba. Many doctors don't go to the trouble because the symptoms are similar to other eye infections.

Lori was treated for pink eye and herpes first. She was finally given the right medications, but it was too late for them to work.

She needed a cornea transplant to restore her sight. She says she hopes the new microscope will prevent others from having to go through what she has.

Lori McRae
"I'm very lucky to have come from that point to be where I am."

Even if she could, lori says she'll never go back to contacts.

If you're going to wear contacts, Doctor Mathers suggests disposable or daily wear lenses. He says people who wear their contacts overnight are ten times more likely to get infections.


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