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Influence of Protein Deposition on Bacterial Adhesion to Contact Lenses

Subbaraman, Lakshman N.*; Borazjani, Roya†; Zhu, Hua†; Zhao, Zhenjun†; Jones, Lyndon‡; Willcox, Mark D. P.†

doi: 10.1097/OPX.0b013e31821ffccb
Original Article

Purpose. The aim of the study is to determine the adhesion of Gram positive and Gram negative bacteria onto conventional hydrogel (CH) and silicone hydrogel (SH) contact lens materials with and without lysozyme, lactoferrin, and albumin coating.

Methods. Four lens types (three SH—balafilcon A, lotrafilcon B, and senofilcon A; one CH—etafilcon A) were coated with lysozyme, lactoferrin, or albumin (uncoated lenses acted as controls) and then incubated in Staphylococcus aureus (Saur 31) or either of two strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa (Paer 6294 and 6206) for 24 h at 37°C. The total counts of the adhered bacteria were determined using the 3H-thymidine method and viable counts by counting the number of colony-forming units on agar media.

Results. All three strains adhered significantly lower to uncoated etafilcon A lenses compared with uncoated SH lenses (p < 0.05). Lysozyme coating on all four lens types increased binding (total and viable counts) of Saur 31 (p < 0.05). However, lysozyme coating did not influence P. aeruginosa adhesion (p > 0.05). Lactoferrin coating on lenses increased binding (total and viable counts) of Saur 31 (p < 0.05). Lactoferrin-coated lenses showed significantly higher total counts (p < 0.05) but significantly lower viable counts (p < 0.05) of adhered P. aeruginosa strains. There was a significant difference between the total and viable counts (p < 0.05) that were bound to lactoferrin-coated lenses. Albumin coating of lenses increased binding (total and viable counts) of all three strains (p < 0.05).

Conclusions. Lysozyme deposited on contact lenses does not possess antibacterial activity against certain bacterial strains, whereas lactoferrin possess an antibacterial effect against strains of P. aeruginosa.

*PhD, BSOptom, FAAO


PhD, FCOptom, FAAO

Brien Holden Vision Institute, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia (LNS, HZ, ZZ, MDPW), Alcon Research Ltd, Fort Worth, Texas (RB), Centre for Contact Lens Research, School of Optometry, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada (LJ), and School of Optometry and Vision Science, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia (MDPW).

LNS was a recipient of the American Optometric Foundation's William C. Ezell Fellowship.

This work was presented in part as podium presentations at the American Academy of Optometry Annual Meeting 2008, Anaheim, CA, British Contact Lens Association Conference 2009, Birmingham, UK, and the 15th International Society for Contact Lens Research Symposium 2009, Crete, Greece.

Received October 28, 2010; accepted April 4, 2011.

Lakshman N. Subbaraman; Department of Chemical Engineering; McMaster University; 1280 Main Street West; Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8S 4L7; e-mail:

© 2011 American Academy of Optometry