Resident microbes living on the eye are essential for immune responses that protect the eye from infection, new research shows.
The study demonstrates the existence of a resident ocular microbiome that trains the developing immune system to fend off pathogens. The research was conducted at the National Eye Institute (NEI), part of the National Institutes of Health. "This is the first evidence that a bacterium lives on the ocular surface long-term," explained Rachel Caspi, Ph.D., senior investigator in NEI's Laboratory of Immunology. "This work addresses a longstanding question about whether there is a resident ocular microbiome."
For years, the ocular surface was thought to be sterile because of the presence of an enzyme called lysozyme that destroys…