See How Contact Lenses Change Your Eye’s Natural Bacteria

If you’re already on the second month of wearing your two-week lenses and don’t really clean and refill your case after every use, here’s another reason to clean up your entire contact lenses wearing routine. 

According to a study published in the journal mBio, contact lenses wearers had higher-than-normal amounts of skin bacteria (specifically PseudomonasAcinetobacterMethylobacterium, and Lactobacillus) on their eyes. 

How the contact lenses alter eye bacteria?

The study, led by Maria Gloria Dominguez-Bello, PhD, from New York University School of Medicine, examined eye bacteria samples from 58 adults throughout the six-week study, observing samples from nine contact lenses users and 11 who aren’t, finding that there were higher amounts—and diverse amounts—of eye bacteria on the under-the-eye skin of people who wore lenses. 

The cause of the increased bacteria wasn’t immediately clear. Researchers speculated that its presence was either a direct cause of the hand-to-eye transfer of the lens (physically putting the contact lenses in your eye), or because “the lenses exert selective pressures on the eye bacterial community in favor of skin bacteria,” Dominguez-Bello says in a statement

The findings, Dominguez-Bello admits, are not enough to encourage contact lenses wearers to completely abandon they or to drastically change the way they’re worn, but they are a lesson in the importance of proper eye hygiene. 

So when your optometrist strongly encourages you to really replace the solution in your case and actually wash your hands before inserting the lens, it might be time to listen. 

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