PURPOSE: To determine the factors that influence the sensitivity and specificity of laser-scanning in vivo confocal microscopy (IVCM) for diagnosing Acanthamoeba keratitis (AK). METHODS: This retrospective, controlled study included 28 eyes of 27 patients with AK and 34 eyes of 34 patients with bacterial keratitis (as the control group). All patients had undergone corneal imaging with a laser-scanning IVCM (Heidelberg Retina Tomograph 3 with the Rostock Cornea Module). The IVCM images were independently evaluated by 2 experienced and 2 inexperienced masked observers. Sensitivity and specificity of IVCM for diagnosing AK and the effects of various clinical and imaging parameters on the sensitivity were then investigated. RESULTS: Overall, IVCM had average sensitivity and specificity of 69.7% ± 2.5% and 97.1% ± 4.2% for experienced observers and 59.0% ± 7.6% and 92.7% ± 10.4% for inexperienced observers, respectively. However, the sensitivity did not show any significant association with the duration of disease, size of ulcer, depth of involvement, culture results, or cyst morphology. Although interobserver agreement was good (κ = 0.60, P < 0.001) for the experienced observers, it was only at a moderate level (κ = 0.48, P < 0.001) for the inexperienced observers. CONCLUSIONS: IVCM has a moderate sensitivity and a high specificity for diagnosis of AK. Although clinical parameters do not affect this diagnostic accuracy, a higher sensitivity is seen when images are interpreted by experienced observers.