Wearing Contacts Changes Bacteria in Eyes
People who wear contact lenses have triple the amount of certain bacteria species on the surface on their eyes compared to people who don't wear contacts. That conclusion from reseachers at New York University's Langone Medical Center, was presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in New Orleans over the weekend.
In comparing the composition of the types of bacteria on the surface of people’s eyes, the researchers found that among contact wearers, it more closely resembled the bacteria on the individuals’ eyelids, as compared to the non-wearers.
The team notes that more research is needed to see whether these changes in eye bacteria come from fingers touching the eye, or whether the pressure of a contact lens somehow alters the immune system in the eye. "Our research clearly shows that putting a foreign object, such as a contact lens, on the eye is not a neutral act," said study author Maria Gloria Dominguez-Bello. That helps explain why people who wear contact lens are more prone to eye infections.
The researchers said their findings reinforce the importance of contact lens wearers washing their hands thoroughly before touching their eyes, along with changing lens solution every day, keeping lens case clean, and changing contacts as instructed by a doctor.