To investigate the rate and agents of contamination in bandage soft contact lenses fitted for management of persistent corneal epithelial defects.
This prospective comparative case series enrolled 57 consecutive eyes fitted with bandage contact lenses for treatment of persistent corneal epithelial defects. The lenses were collected at the time of epithelial closure or when it was necessary to exchange contact lenses and were immediately placed in sterile tubes containing an enriched thioglycolate liquid medium. When contamination of the contact lens was detected, the microorganism was cultured in different media and identified based on various tests. All isolates were tested for susceptibility to various antibiotics. Univariate analyses were used to evaluate the influence of different variables (duration of contact lens use, use of topical corticosteroids, presence of blepharitis, contact lens deposits, and presence of sutures) on bandage contact lens contamination.
Seventeen of the contact lenses (29.8%) were contaminated. The most commonly isolated pathogen was Staphylococcus epidermidis (n = 10), followed by Enterobacter cloacae (n = 3), Staphylococcus aureus (n = 1), Streptococcus viridans (n = 1), and Alcaligenes spp. (n = 1). One contact lens yielded a mixed infection with E. cloacae and Candida spp. Infectious keratitis was not observed in any eyes. Correlations between contact lens contamination and patient- and lens-related variables were not statistically significant.
Most bandage contact lenses (70.2%) used for treatment of persistent corneal epithelial defects did not show bacterial growth. Staphylococcus epidermidis was the most common microorganism isolated from the contaminated contact lenses.