Scleral lenses may have a pronounced effect on microbial growth in the conjunctiva, a study in Contact Lens & Anterior Eye suggests. The team of Turkish researchers also found a majority of patients who wore scleral lenses had no bacterial growth on their conjunctiva compared with non-lens wearers.

The investigation enrolled 26 scleral lens patients (10 males and 16 females) and 25 healthy controls (9 males and 16 females). The participants were approximately 40 years old, and patients in the scleral lens group wore their lenses for roughly 13 months.

The investigators obtained samples from the lower fornices of the patients’ eyes using sterile swabs and created bacterial cultures. After a one-to-two day incubation period, the researchers analyzed the growth of different colonies of bacteria.

No bacterial growth was detected in 17 of the 26 eyes in the scleral lens group (65.4%) compared with only five of the 25 eyes in the control group (20%).

The researchers reported the most common microorganisms they observed in both groups were Staphylococcus epidermidis and Staphylococcus aureus.

Dogan C, Bahar Tokman H, Mergen B, et al. Effect of scleral lens use on conjunctival microbiota. Con Lens Anterior Eye. November 16, 2019. [Epub ahead of print].