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Could contact lens wearers be at greater risk of eye infection?

Could contact lens wearers be at greater risk of eye infection?

Of all of our five senses, many of us perhaps hold our eyesight dearest. Technological advances mean that our vision can become even sharper than ever, with corrective laser surgery becoming more popular year on year. However, glasses and contact lenses remain the eyewear of choice, with Roy Morgan Research stating that  61 per cent of Australians use either of those options. Though less than 10 per cent of Aussies opt for contact lenses over glasses, the former are steadily growing in popularity - but can they put our eyes at greater risk of infection? 

Life through a lens

According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it's thought that up to one in 500 contact lens wearers contract an eye infection each year, which is believed to be down to ineffective cleaning or improper use of the lenses, or by deviating from the instructions presented by the manufacturer.

Now, a study carried out by researchers at New York University's Langone Medical Centre may well have found the reason as to just why contact lens wearers suffer from increased cases of eye infections compared to those that wear glasses, or nothing at all. 

Analysing 20 volunteers, 11 of whom did not wear contact lenses and nine that did, the researchers found that, in each of them, the surface of the eye, known as the conjuntiva, had a higher bacterial diversity than the membrane found just below it. In the eyes of the participants who regularly wore contact lenses, there was three times the amount of the bacterias known as Methylobacterium, Lactobacillus, Acinetobacter, and Pseudomonas than those that wore nothing. 

After the experiment had concluded, it was found that germs present on the contact lens' wearers eye were akin to that of their external skin, which naturally hosts more bacteria than our eyes - or should do.

Of all of our five senses, many of us perhaps hold our eyesight dearest.

Contact checklist

"Our research clearly shows that putting a foreign object, such as a contact lens, on the eye is not a neutral act," stated senior study investigator, biologist Dr Maria Gloria Dominguez-Bello. 

So should we cast our contacts in to the bin, lest we risk putting our eyes at a higher risk for infection? Not quite yet - by washing your hands before use, cleaning your lenses thoroughly and following correct procedures, you can minimise your chances of an eye infection - though, according to the CDC, between 40 to 90 per cent of wearers do not properly do this. 

"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," said Dr Doniniguez- Bello, summing up.

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Could contact lens wearers be at greater risk of eye infection?

New research has found that those who wear contact lenses are more at risk of developing an eye infection than if they were to wear glasses or nothing at all.

Of all of our five senses, many of us perhaps hold our eyesight dearest. Technological advances mean that our vision can become even sharper than ever, with corrective laser surgery becoming more popular year on year. However, glasses and contact lenses remain the eyewear of choice, with Roy Morgan Research stating that  61 per cent of Australians use either of those options. Though less than 10 per cent of Aussies opt for contact lenses over glasses, the former are steadily growing in popularity - but can they put our eyes at greater risk of infection? 

Life through a lens

According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it's thought that up to one in 500 contact lens wearers contract an eye infection each year, which is believed to be down to ineffective cleaning or improper use of the lenses, or by deviating from the instructions presented by the manufacturer.

Now, a study carried out by researchers at New York University's Langone Medical Centre may well have found the reason as to just why contact lens wearers suffer from increased cases of eye infections compared to those that wear glasses, or nothing at all. 

Analysing 20 volunteers, 11 of whom did not wear contact lenses and nine that did, the researchers found that, in each of them, the surface of the eye, known as the conjuntiva, had a higher bacterial diversity than the membrane found just below it. In the eyes of the participants who regularly wore contact lenses, there was three times the amount of the bacterias known as Methylobacterium, Lactobacillus, Acinetobacter, and Pseudomonas than those that wore nothing. 

After the experiment had concluded, it was found that germs present on the contact lens' wearers eye were akin to that of their external skin, which naturally hosts more bacteria than our eyes - or should do.

Of all of our five senses, many of us perhaps hold our eyesight dearest.

Contact checklist

"Our research clearly shows that putting a foreign object, such as a contact lens, on the eye is not a neutral act," stated senior study investigator, biologist Dr Maria Gloria Dominguez-Bello. 

So should we cast our contacts in to the bin, lest we risk putting our eyes at a higher risk for infection? Not quite yet - by washing your hands before use, cleaning your lenses thoroughly and following correct procedures, you can minimise your chances of an eye infection - though, according to the CDC, between 40 to 90 per cent of wearers do not properly do this. 

"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," said Dr Doniniguez- Bello, summing up.

Could contact lens wearers be at greater risk of eye infection?
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