Microbial contamination of contact lens storage cases and domestic tap water of contact lens wearers.

Research paper by Miray M Üstüntürk, Zuhal Z Zeybek

Indexed on: 16 Oct '12Published on: 16 Oct '12Published in: Wiener klinische Wochenschrift


Contact lenses have been widely used as an alternative to spectacles both in developed and developing countries. However, under certain circumstances, adverse responses can occur during contact lens wear and several microorganisms--including bacteria, fungi, and free living amoebae--can cause several eye infections in wearers. Extended wear of contact lenses is the major risk factor of eye infections such as microbial keratitis, besides contaminated contact lens storage case, contaminated lens care solutions, and inaccurate contact lens handling. In this study, we collected contact lens storage case and domestic tap water samples from 50 asymptomatic contact lens wearers. We determined that total aerobic mesophilic bacteria were isolated in 45 (90 %), Gram negative rod bacteria were isolated in 20 (40 %), Pseudomonas spp. were isolated in 2 (4 %) and fungi were isolated in 18 (36 %) out of 50 contact lens storage cases. Free living amoebae were not detected in investigated contact lens storage cases. At the same time, out of 50, total aerobic mesophilic bacteria were isolated in 34 (68 %), fungi were isolated in 15 (30 %) and free living amoebae were isolated in 15 (30 %) domestic tap water samples. No Gram-negative rod bacteria and Pseudomonas spp. were detected in investigated water samples. Two contact lens case samples and two tap water samples were excluded from the analysis for Pseudomonas spp. for technical reasons. According to our findings, inadequate contact lens maintenance during lens wear may result in the contamination of contact lens storage cases. This situation can lead to severe eye infections in contact lens wearers over time.