Wearing Contact Lenses Increases Bacteria on Eyeballs

May 7, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. population / ˌpɒp yəˈleɪ ʃən / (n.) – a group that lives in a certain place
Example: The population of birds in the city is decreasing.

2. composition / ˌkɒm pəˈzɪʃ ən / (n.) – the combination of the parts that make up something
Example: Soil has a very complex composition.

3. swab / swɒb / (v.) – to apply or take a sample of something using a small piece of cloth or cotton
Example: The doctor swabbed her inner cheek to take a DNA sample.

4. contract / kənˈtrækt / (v.) – (used with an object) to be infected by a disease
Example: The woman contracted tuberculosis.

5. disinfectant / ˌdɪs ɪnˈfɛk tənt / (n.) – a substance used for killing harmful viruses or bacteria
Example: Alcohol is a common disinfectant.


Read the text below.
A new study found that wearing contact lenses alters bacteria population on a person’s eyeballs.

Normally, a small population of bacteria lives on the eyeballs’ surface, just like in other parts of the body such as the skin and the intestines. These bacteria are considered part of the body’s natural bacterial composition and usually cause no harm. Some even help fight off other harmful microorganisms.

Researchers from the New York University School of Medicine studied 58 participants, some of whom wore contact lenses. The researchers swabbed the surface of the participants’ eyeballs, as well as the skin surrounding the eye area.

After the researchers analyzed the swabs, results showed that people who wore contact lenses have higher bacteria population on the eyeballs. Also, results revealed that the bacterial composition on the eyeballs was more similar to the bacterial composition on the skin.

The senior author of the study said that further studies are needed to find out if the change in the bacteria population could cause any harm. Currently, many cases of eye infection have already been linked to the use of contact lenses. For instance, contact lens users are prone to contracting keratitis or the inflammation of the cornea, which may cause loss of vision.

Users are advised to maintain proper hygiene in order to avoid infections. The American Academy of Ophthalmology [of-thal-MOL-uh-ji] reminds contact lens users to remove their lenses before sleeping, to clean their lenses regularly with disinfectant, and to replace temporary lenses on time.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Why do you think some people prefer wearing contact lenses than eyeglasses?
·         Aside from those mentioned in the article, enumerate ways to prevent eye infection, whether you wear contact lenses or not.

Discussion B

·         What is the importance of keeping the eyes healthy?
·         How would you encourage people to take better care of their eyes? Discuss.

May 7, 2016