With millions of individuals wearing them around the world, contact lenses have become an immensely popular alternative to glasses and allow individuals to have clear, perfect vision. Besides allowing someone to see clearly, contact lenses can also come in a multitude of colors so individuals may change their eye color temporarily as well. Keep reading to uncover the importance of having the right contact lenses and how the right pair can help keep the eyes healthy and moist, rather than dry.
How Contact Lenses Affect The Eyes
According to a study published in mBio, wearing contact lenses may change the eye’s microbiome or the group of bacteria that is responsible for the eye’s health. The news is welcome for medical professionals who now have a better understanding of how to prevent infections and improve eye care through the use of contact lenses. One disease in particular known as giant papillary conjunctivitis is of primary concern when it comes to those who wear contacts.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest that the one hundred million individuals globally who wear contact lenses should follow strict guidelines when cleaning, wearing and storing their contacts. Because the microbiome is responsible for protecting against infection, this study is an important discovery in the future of eye health as contact lenses are capable of changing the bacteria in the eye that is responsible for protecting against infection. No other study has been able to show the structural and functional impact of contact lenses.
Continue reading to further discover the study that was conducted and what it means for eye health.
The authors of the study sought to determine the microbiota of individuals who did not wear contacts with those who did. The study analyzed bacterial samples from the eye’s surface and on the skin underneath the eye of nine patients who wore contacts and eleven who did not. The samples were taken via a laboratory technique called 16s rRNA sequencing within three intervals lasting six weeks long. Approximately two hundred and fifty samples were extracted from participants. What does this study mean for those who wear contact lens and how does it affect their eye health?
Keep reading to learn the results of this study and what it means for contact lens wearers.
The Results Of The Study
Results showed that there was a higher density of bacteria on the surface of the eye than underneath the contact lens. In conclusion, the microbiota located on the eye’s surface was more skin-like compared to those who do not wear contacts. People who wore contacts had a larger amount of the following bacteria in their eyes: Pseudomonas, Acinetobacter, Methylobacterium, and Lactobacillus. Those who do not wear contacts had lower levels of Pseudomonas, Acinetobacter, Methylobacterium and Sphingobium bacterium.
Further results indicated that people who wore contact lenses had lower counts of Haemophilus, Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, and Corynebacterium. The study also noted that the composition and diversity of bacteria between the skin or conjunctiva microbiota did not appear to change over the course of the survey.
Next, reveal the theories authors of the study believe explain why these types of bacteria are present in the eye, especially for contact wearers.
Authors are not sure how these changes occur. One theory is that bacteria may transfer to the eye from the person’s finger when applying the contacts, however, these changes are thought to be temporary. Another theory is that the contact lens may put pressure on the eye, which impacts its bacterial composition and diversity. Researchers believe the study could help determine infection behaviors in people who wear contacts. According to senior study author Doctor Maria Dominguez-Bello, “It's too early yet to offer any advice to contact lens wearers. Other studies have shown increased risks for eye infections in contact lens wearers, and this might relate to impacting the microbiome. When we can better understand the mechanisms, we will be able to test hypotheses and propose preventive measurements."
Finally, find out how to choose the right contact lenses and what factors a patient should look for when making this decision.
Choosing The Right Contact Lenses
Every patient’s eyes have different needs and require different care. For one, choosing the right lenses is a decision that an individual should make with their optometrist. Certain factors also play a role in deciding on the right contact lens, such as the patient’s refractive error, how often the contacts are being worn, and how the patient will care for their lenses. The first step in choosing lenses is patients need to be realistic with how often they will wear their lenses, as there are different lenses available for daily wear or for occasional wear, as a majority of contact lens wearers wear soft contact lenses. To avoid serious contact lens-related eye problems, such as infections and ulcers, patients must use the contact lens solutions their optometrist recommends, and daily care is essential for any patient.
Remember to consult an optometrist before choosing a pair of lenses to ensure you wear the right pair that will not impact your eye health.