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Bacterial Adhesion to Unworn and Worn Silicone Hydrogel Lenses

Vijay, Ajay Kumar; Zhu, Hua; Ozkan, Jerome; Wu, Duojia; Masoudi, Simin; Bandara, Rani; Borazjani, Roya N.; Willcox, Mark D. P.

Optometry & Vision Science:
doi: 10.1097/OPX.0b013e318264f4dc
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Purpose. The objective of this study was to determine the bacterial adhesion to various silicone hydrogel lens materials and to determine whether lens wear modulated adhesion.

Methods. Bacterial adhesion (total and viable cells) of Staphylococcus aureus (31, 38, and ATCC 6538) and Pseudomonas aeruginosa (6294, 6206, and GSU-3) to 10 commercially available different unworn and worn silicone hydrogel lenses was measured. Results of adhesion were correlated to polymer and surface properties of contact lenses.

Results. S. aureus adhesion to unworn lenses ranged from 2.8 × 104 to 4.4 × 105 colony forming units per lens. The highest adhesion was to lotrafilcon A lenses, and the lowest adhesion was to asmofilcon A lenses. P. aeruginosa adhesion to unworn lenses ranged from 8.9 × 105 to 3.2 × 106 colony forming units per lens. The highest adhesion was to comfilcon A lenses, and the lowest adhesion was to asmofilcon A and balafilcon A lenses. Lens wear altered bacterial adhesion, but the effect was specific to lens and strain type. Adhesion of bacteria, regardless of genera/species or lens wear, was generally correlated with the hydrophobicity of the lens; the less hydrophobic the lens surface, the greater the adhesion.

Conclusions. P. aeruginosa adhered in higher numbers to lenses in comparison with S. aureus strains, regardless of the lens type or lens wear. The effect of lens wear was specific to strain and lens. Hydrophobicity of the silicone hydrogel lens surface influenced the adhesion of bacterial cells.

Author Information




Brien Holden Vision Institute (AKV, HZ, JO, DW, SM, RB, MDPW), and School of Optometry and Vision Science (HZ, MDPW), University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, and Alcon Labs, Fort Worth, Texas (RNB) Roya N. Borazjani is currently at CooperVision, Pleasanton, California.

Received February 6, 2012; accepted June 4, 2012.

Mark D. P. Willcox School of Optometry and Vision Science, University of New South Wales Sydney, New South Wales 2052 Australia e-mail:

© 2012 American Academy of Optometry