Bacteria living on our eyeballs may protect against diseases

June 25, 2019  09:47

Bacteria that live on our eyeballs may both provide protection against a number of diseases, as well as contribute to their development, Live Science reported

According to the source, agents that change the microflora of the eyes can make a real revolution in the field of ophthalmology.

The so-called ‘basic’ microflora of the eye depends on the age, ethnicity, place of residence, the presence of diseases and the fact of wearing contact lenses. The ‘basic’ microflora includes four main types of bacteria - staphylococcus, diphtheroids, propionibacteria and streptococci. Hepatitis TT virus can also be found on 65% of people on the surface of the eyes.

Scientists have decided to find out whether bacteria on the surface of the eye can stimulate an immune response, protecting the eyes from dangerous pathogens like Pseudomonas aeuruginosa.

“In 2016, ocular immunologist Rachel Caspi at the National Eye Institute and I hypothesized that protective bacteria were living near or on the eye. Indeed, we found a resident bacterium, Corynebacterium mastitidis (C. mast), that stimulates immune cells to produce and release antimicrobial factors that kill harmful microbes into the tears. Through a series of experiments, the Caspi lab was able to show for the first time a causal relationship between C. mast and a protective immune response. Whenever C. mast was present on the eye surface, mice were more resistant to two species of bacteria known to cause blindness: Candida albicans and Pseudomonas aeuruginosa," the author of the article said.

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