Prevalence of antiseptic-resistance genes in staphylococci isolated from orthokeratology lens and spectacle wearers in Hong Kong

Guang Sen Shi, Maureen Boost, Hie Hua Wong

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


PURPOSE. To compare isolation of staphylococci from periorbital tissues and accessories of orthokeratology (ortho-k) lens and spectacle wearers and investigate prevalence of antisepticresistance(QAC) genes. To determine minimum inhibitory concentrations (MIC) of antiseptics and antibiotic susceptibility of isolates. METHODS. Staphylococci were isolated from eyelids, eyelashes, and conjunctival sacs of 23 ortho-k lens wearers and 20 spectacle wearers. Samples were also collected from ortho-k lenses, lens cases, and spectacle frames. Isolations of Staphylococcus aureus were compared between ortho-k subjects and controls for all samples and for coagulase-negative staphylococci (CNS) from conjunctival sacs. QAC genes were amplified in 110 S. aureus and 59 CNS isolates and prevalence compared in isolates from ortho-k lens and spectacle wearers. Associations were assessed between presence of QAC genes and antibiotic and antiseptic susceptibility. RESULTS. Although isolation of S. aureus did not differ significantly in periorbital samples from ortho-k and control subjects, QAC genes were significantly more common in both S. aureus and CNS from ortho-k subjects (odds ratio 4.4 and 10.74, respectively). Overall, qacA/B was the predominant gene detected, being present in 26.5% CNS and 11% S. aureus. smr and qacH were present in 12% of CNS, but were less common in S. aureus. QAC gene-positive isolates had higher MICs to benzalkonium chloride and chlorhexidine digluconate. CONCLUSIONS. Our results suggest that long-term use of multipurpose solutions containing quaternary ammonium compounds may select for carriage of organisms harboring QAC genes. As these genes are associated with antibiotic resistance, their increased prevalence in isolates from contact lens wearers is a concern.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3069-3074
Number of pages6
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • Antiseptic resistance genes
  • Disinfectant
  • MIC
  • Periorbital tissues
  • Qac
  • Staphylococci

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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