OPEN mBio | 24 Mar 2016
H Shin, K Price, L Albert, J Dodick, L Park and MG Dominguez-Bello
Wearing contact lenses has been identified as a risk factor for the development of eye conditions such as giant papillary conjunctivitis and keratitis. We hypothesized that wearing contact lenses is associated with changes in the ocular microbiota. We compared the bacterial communities of the conjunctiva and skin under the eye from 58 subjects and analyzed samples from 20 subjects (9 lens wearers and 11 non-lens wearers) taken at 3 time points using a 16S rRNA gene-based sequencing technique (V4 region; Illumina MiSeq). We found that using anesthetic eye drops before sampling decreases the detected ocular microbiota diversity. Compared to those from non-lens wearers, dry conjunctival swabs from lens wearers had more variable and skin-like bacterial community structures (UniFrac;P value = <0.001), with higher abundances ofMethylobacterium,Lactobacillus,Acinetobacter, andPseudomonasand lower abundances ofHaemophilus,Streptococcus,Staphylococcus, andCorynebacterium(linear discriminant analysis [LDA] score = >3.0). The results indicate that wearing contact lenses alters the microbial structure of the ocular conjunctiva, making it more similar to that of the skin microbiota. Further research is needed to determine whether the microbiome structure provides less protection from ocular infections.
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