Identification and Enumeration of Staphylococci from the Eye during Soft Contact Lens Wear

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Purpose. An extensive study was conducted to identify and enumerate staphylococcal microbiota found on ocular sites during asymptomatic soft contact lens (SCL) wear. Methods. A biochemical identification system separately grouped the eight clinically relevant staphylococci. Total counts and isolation frequencies from SCLs and ocular sites were evaluated. Results. The epidermidis group was the most numerous isolate from extended wear (EW) lenses; the capitis/warneri group was the most numerous (p<0.05) from daily wear (DW) lenses. In both DW and EW, the greatest isolation frequency (p<0.05) was recorded for the capitis/warneri group. The remaining six groups were isolated infrequently and in low numbers. Discussion. These results show that, in addition to Staphylococcus epidermidis, other staphylococcal species may be important members of the normal microbiota of the ocular surface during SCL wear. Furthermore, an increase and a shift in staphylococcal microbiota between DW and EW regimes was highlighted.

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