Search tips
Search criteria 


Logo of iaiPermissionsJournals.ASM.orgJournalIAI ArticleJournal InfoAuthorsReviewers
Infect Immun. 1995 November; 63(11): 4501–4505.
PMCID: PMC173641

Changes to the ocular biota with time in extended- and daily-wear disposable contact lens use.


Gram-negative bacteria may play a role in the etiology of certain soft contact lens (SCL)-related diseases. Contact lens (CL) wear may modify the normal ocular biota, providing a more favorable environment for potential pathogens. This study reports temporal changes in ocular biota in daily-wear (DW) and extended-wear (EW) disposable SCL use in experienced and neophyte wearers. Lid margin and bulbar conjunctival biota were sampled prior to CL fitting in 26 previous DW SCL users, 18 previous EW SCL users, and 26 neophytes. Wearers were fitted with an etafilcon A CL in one eye and a polymacon CL in the fellow eye. Lenses were worn on a daily basis by the 26 previous DW SCL wearers and on an EW basis by the remaining 44 subjects. The ocular biota was further sampled after 1, 3, 6, 9, and 12 months of wear. The ocular biota consisted of coagulase-negative staphylococci, Corynebacterium spp., Micrococcus spp., and Propionibacterium spp. Potential pathogens were rarely isolated at baseline. No significant trend of increasing ocular colonization was shown for extended CL wear. Lid and conjunctival colonization increased with DW SCL use (P < 0.001), although this increase occurred for nonpathogenic species only. Fewer potential pathogens were isolated from DW SCL than from EW SCL users (P < 0.05). The lid margin consistently showed greater colonization than the conjunctiva and may be a source of potential pathogens during CL wear. Hydrogel CL wear appears to modify the ocular biota. An increased number of commensal organisms were present in DW SCL use. EW SCL use altered the spectrum of organisms isolated. These alterations may suppress the normal ocular defense mechanisms and may be relevant in the pathogenesis of CL-related disease.

Full Text

The Full Text of this article is available as a PDF (217K).

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Allansmith MR, Ostler HB, Butterworth M. Concomitance of bacteria on various areas of the eye. Arch Ophthalmol. 1969 Jul;82(1):37–42. [PubMed]
  • Cagle GD, Abshire RL. Quantitative ocular bacteriology: a method for the enumeration and identification of bacteria from the skin-lash margin and conjunctiva. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 1981 Jun;20(6):751–757. [PubMed]
  • Callender MG, Tse LS, Charles AM, Lutzi D. Bacterial flora of the eye and contact lens. Cases during hydrogel lens wear. Am J Optom Physiol Opt. 1986 Mar;63(3):177–180. [PubMed]
  • Fleiszig SM, Efron N. Microbial flora in eyes of current and former contact lens wearers. J Clin Microbiol. 1992 May;30(5):1156–1161. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Fleiszig SM, Efron N. Conjunctival flora in extended wear of rigid gas permeable contact lenses. Optom Vis Sci. 1992 May;69(5):354–357. [PubMed]
  • Galentine PG, Cohen EJ, Laibson PR, Adams CP, Michaud R, Arentsen JJ. Corneal ulcers associated with contact lens wear. Arch Ophthalmol. 1984 Jun;102(6):891–894. [PubMed]
  • Hart DE, Shih KL. Surface interactions on hydrogel extended wear contact lenses: microflora and microfauna. Am J Optom Physiol Opt. 1987 Oct;64(10):739–748. [PubMed]
  • Høvding G. The conjunctival and contact lens bacterial flora during lens wear. Acta Ophthalmol (Copenh) 1981 Jun;59(3):387–401. [PubMed]
  • Høvding G. Conjunctival and contact lens bacterial flora during continuous 'bandage' lens wear. Acta Ophthalmol (Copenh) 1982 Jun;60(3):439–448. [PubMed]
  • Larkin DF, Kilvington S, Easty DL. Contamination of contact lens storage cases by Acanthamoeba and bacteria. Br J Ophthalmol. 1990 Mar;74(3):133–135. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Larkin DF, Leeming JP. Quantitative alterations of the commensal eye bacteria in contact lens wear. Eye (Lond) 1991;5(Pt 1):70–74. [PubMed]
  • Mayo MS, Schlitzer RL, Ward MA, Wilson LA, Ahearn DG. Association of Pseudomonas and Serratia corneal ulcers with use of contaminated solutions. J Clin Microbiol. 1987 Aug;25(8):1398–1400. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • McNatt J, Allen SD, Wilson LA, Dowell VR., Jr Anaerobic flora of the normal human conjunctival sac. Arch Ophthalmol. 1978 Aug;96(8):1448–1450. [PubMed]
  • Morgan JF. Complications associated with contact lens solutions. Ophthalmology. 1979 Jun;86(6):1107–1119. [PubMed]
  • Perkins RE, Kundsin RB, Pratt MV, Abrahamsen I, Leibowitz HM. Bacteriology of normal and infected conjunctiva. J Clin Microbiol. 1975 Feb;1(2):147–149. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Ramachandran L, Sharma S, Sankaridurg PR, Vajdic CM, Chuck JA, Holden BA, Sweeney DF, Rao GN. Examination of the conjunctival microbiota after 8 hours of eye closure. CLAO J. 1995 Jul;21(3):195–199. [PubMed]
  • Roszkowski W, Roszkowski K, Ko HL, Beuth J, Jeljaszewicz J. Immunomodulation by propionibacteria. Zentralbl Bakteriol. 1990 Dec;274(3):289–298. [PubMed]
  • Sack RA, Tan KO, Tan A. Diurnal tear cycle: evidence for a nocturnal inflammatory constitutive tear fluid. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 1992 Mar;33(3):626–640. [PubMed]
  • Schein OD, Ormerod LD, Barraquer E, Alfonso E, Egan KM, Paton BG, Kenyon KR. Microbiology of contact lens-related keratitis. Cornea. 1989 Dec;8(4):281–285. [PubMed]
  • Smolin G, Okumoto M, Nozik RA. The microbial flora in extended-wear soft contact-lens wearers. Am J Ophthalmol. 1979 Sep;88(3 Pt 2):543–547. [PubMed]
  • SOUDAKOFF PS. Bacteriologic examination of the conjunctiva; a survey on 3,000 patients. Am J Ophthalmol. 1954 Sep;38(3):374–376. [PubMed]
  • Stapleton F, Dart JK, Seal DV, Matheson M. Epidemiology of Pseudomonas aeruginosa keratitis in contact lens wearers. Epidemiol Infect. 1995 Jun;114(3):395–402. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Tragakis MP, Brown SI, Pearce DB. Bacteriologic studies of contamination associated with soft contact lenses. Am J Ophthalmol. 1973 Mar;75(3):496–499. [PubMed]
  • Ugomori S, Hayasaka S, Setogawa T. Polymorphonuclear leukocytes and bacterial growth of the normal and mildly inflamed conjunctiva. Ophthalmic Res. 1991;23(1):40–44. [PubMed]

Articles from Infection and Immunity are provided here courtesy of American Society for Microbiology (ASM)