Microbial keratitis (MK), a bacterial infection affecting the cornea (the clear, dome-shaped window of the front of the eye), has remained an unsolved problem for over 30 years. Microbial keratitis is a complication of contact lens wear, leading to pain, discharge, redness and photophobia. After intense antimicrobial treatment, a dense corneal scar remains which may result in loss of vision requiring corneal transplantation. MK theoretically should be a preventable disease in the 45 million typically healthy, younger Americans who wear contact lenses. However, despite advances in contact lens materials, care systems, disposal schedules, and awareness of modifiable and
unmodifiable risk factors, the incidence of contact lens related MK (CL-MK) has not changed since first reported in 1989; 1/500 extended wear (EW) users and 1/2,500 daily wear (DW) users are susceptible to these corneal infections.
The purpose of this study is to understand why some of these corneal infections occur in contact lens wearers. A genetic study will help to identify genes (the basic biological units of heredity) that contribute to the development of corneal infection. In this study, we will be looking for genetic patterns related to microbial keratitis or related eye conditions.