PURPOSE: To describe a cytologic technique for the rapid identification of presumed Acanthamoeba organisms from corneal epithelial scrapings. METHODS: After administering topical anesthesia, we removed the affected corneal epithelium with a scalpel blade. The tip of the blade, containing the scrapings, was washed off into a cuvette with a solution of an alcohol-based fixative for cytology specimens. The blade was immersed in the cuvette and agitated to ensure that the sample was collected. The specimen was fixed for at least 10 minutes and processed by cytospin centrifugation. RESULT: Seventy-five patient samples have been studied with this technique, with excellent preservation of the organism. CONCLUSIONS: The organism preservation with this technique is superior to that of conventional smears and permits confirmatory organism identification by immunohistochemistry.
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