Contact lens wear could affect ocular microbiome
4 January 2016
It has become increasingly clear to scientists that have been research microbiomes that everyday products can influence bacteria and microbes that populate the human body, an unpublished study from the American Society of Microbiology has reported.
The research focused on the fact that contact lenses can particularly influence the microbiota – the ecological community of micro-organisms that literally share our body space – of the eye and may have long term effects on the health of your eyes.
“Our research clearly shows that putting a foreign object, such as a contact lens, on the eye is not a neutral act,” Maria Gloria Dominguez-Bello, a microbiologist at New York University Langone Medical Center, said in a statement.
The experiment that was undertaken showed that the differences between microbial populations between those that wore contacts and those that didn’t, and twenty volunteers were involved in the surveys.
Of the twenty individuals in the survey, the nine that wore contact lenses displayed a higher level of diversity on the surface of the eye, which can also be called conjunctiva. For lens-wearers, the composition of the microbiota on the conjunctiva closely resembled that found within the eyelid itself.
Additionally, wearing contact lenses linked to an increase of up to three times as many species of bacteria, and infections were more common due to the foreign objects being caught in the eye.
“These findings should help scientists better understand the longstanding problem of why contact-lens wearers are more prone to eye infections than non-lens-wearers,” Dominguez-Bello added.
In the future, the research would look more into determining exactly how wearing contacts can change the ocular microbiome and the health of the eye.
“What we hope our future experiments will show is whether these changes in the eye microbiome of lens wearers are due to fingers touching the eye, or from the lens’s direct pressure affecting and altering the immune system in the eye and what bacteria are suppressed or are allowed to thrive,” said Dominguez-Bello.