Microbial flora of tears of orthokeratology patients, and microbial contamination of contact lenses and contact lens accessories

Maureen V. Boost, Hie Hua Wong

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose. The purpose of this study is to determine if there are changes in the ocular flora of overnight orthokeratology (ortho-k) patients, and the levels of contamination of their lenses and lens accessories, and to correlate compliance with levels of contamination. Method. Normal ocular flora of 41 subjects was determined twice before commencing ortho-k lens wear by culture of the lower conjunctiva. Further specimens were collected on six follow-up visits after beginning lens wear, as were samples from their lenses, cases, and suction holders. A questionnaire on lens care was administered after the fifth visit. Results. Three subjects provided conjunctival samples yielding Staphylococcus aureus on one occasion before lens wear, one being positive for this organism after beginning lens wear. Of 38 subjects yielding no growth or only normal eye flora before use, 28 remained free of ocular pathogens after beginning lens wear. Only four subjects had positive cultures on more than one occasion after lens wear. There was no significant difference in isolation levels of pathogens with lens wear (p = 0.423). Lens culture of 54% of subjects yielded no growth or normal flora only; lenses of 16 subjects yielded potential pathogens, including three subjects contaminated on more than one occasion. Lens isolates did not match the organisms transiently colonizing the eye. Lens case, the most frequently contaminated item, was associated with lens contamination (p < 0.001), the same organism being isolated from both items in 11 subjects. Lens suction holder was less frequently contaminated. Neither lens case nor suction holder contamination was associated with isolates from the eye. Reported good compliance correlated with lack of contamination in all but one subject. The most frequent breaches in the lens care protocol were failure to clean, disinfect, and replace the lens case. Conclusion. Ocular flora was not altered by ortho-k lens wear over an extended period, and patients remained free of infection. Contaminants identified were generally of a transient nature. Most patients had significant contamination of at least one item, most frequently the lens case. Lens case isolates were significantly associated with those from the lens. The majority of patients reporting good compliance had low or no contamination of their lenses and accessories.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)451-458
Number of pages8
JournalOptometry and Vision Science
Volume82
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2005

Keywords

  • Contact lens
  • Lens accessories
  • Microbial contamination
  • Orthokeratology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Optometry

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