The influence of environmental and physiological stress on conjunctival bacteria of the eye during soft contact lens wear is incompletely understood. A five week case control study was conducted during the second half of the Fall 2011 semester on the campus of the University of West Alabama to assess the impact of environmental and physiological stress on the conjunctival bacteria of contact lens wearers. Weekly stress survey scores and bacterial colonies from conjunctival swab samples were recovered from eight undergraduate students representing males, females, contact wearers, and non-contact wearers. The most common bacteria recovered were Ornithinibacillus bavariensis, Staphylococcus equorum, and Micrococcus luteus. No positive correlations were observed between stress scores and bacterial counts in the subjects. Changes in bacterial counts correlated with seasonal changes in air temperature and precipitation, suggesting that conjunctival bacteria respond strongly to environmental changes.
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Vol. 85 • No. 2