Your Contact Lenses Are A Paradise For Bacteria, Meaning There's Bad New For Your Eyes

I personally love wearing glasses, but I know many of you out there are true blue contact lens wearers. If this describes you, then you will be throughly disgusted by this news, as a new study suggests that your contact lenses could be doing damage to your eyes. Everyone has bacteria that naturally lives in their eyes, but as you can probably imagine, it requires an extremely fragile balance which, if not kept in proportion, can wreak havoc on your eyes if it's not in proportion — and hey, guess what contacts do? You guessed it: They mess with that balance.

The research team, which was based at New York University, found that wearing contact lenses can upset this community of bacteria, which can do absolutely terrible things to your eyes. If you want an example as to what exactly these bacteria are capable of, few weeks ago we covered the story of a woman who had a parasite almost eat her eyeball because of improper contact lens care. Yes, you read that correctly — almost ate her eyeball. If this doesn't make you want to ditch your contacts for a pair of specs, I don't know what will.

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In order to conduct their study, the researchers looked at the bacterial colonies that live in the eyes of people who wear contact lenses and those living in the eyes of people who don't (they used only 20 participants, so bear in mind that the sample size is pretty tiny). It turns out that the bacterial colonies of those who wore contacts looked a lot different than those belonging to the people who were contact lens-free. The contacts-wearers had more colonies of pathogens, which are responsible for inflammatory eye conditions, and therefore not good news for folks who love their contacts. Contact lenses have previously been linked to eye diseases and infections, so it seems that these links have been further supported. By wearing contacts, you're increasing the likelihood that you will develop an eye condition.

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Another interesting finding this study produced was that the bacteria of the contact lens wearers resembled bacteria that would be found on the skin. This was attributed by the researchers to one of two possibilities: Bacteria from the skin being transferred to your eye when inserting and removing the lenses, or the lenses favoring skin-like bacteria over normal bacterial cultures found in the eye.

Since the sample size was so small, the study will have to be replicated on a larger scale before we can claim to know the full story behind eye bacteria — so if you are not wanting to give up your contact lenses, you won't have to yet. But, this area of research has been neglected by and large, so there is still a lot to learn and who knows what kind of scary results could surface. “Despite being important in ophthalmology, the eye microbiome has been largely neglected, and its functions remain unknown,” senior researcher Maria Gloria Dominguez-Bello, PhD said. Stay tuned for further studies and in the meantime, make sure you're taking proper care of your contact lenses.

Images: Edman/Flickr; Getty Images; Giphy