Narrator: This is Science Today. Strains of a common bacteria called pseudonomas aeruginosa have been found to damage the healthy eye if in contact long enough. Suzanne Fleiszig an optometrist at the University of California, Berkeley, says this is surprising since the bacteria was previously believed to only affect injured corneas.
Fleiszig: What we found was that these strains were actually able to kill healthy corneal cells. So we were thinking, well if it can kill corneal cells, what's going to happen if we put the bacteria into the cornea, if it gets into your eye. And so we did those experiments and found that it was able to damage the intact corneal surface.
Narrator: The concern is what will to happen if this bacteria gets trapped underneath a contact lens - especially the long-wear lenses set to enter the market?
Fleiszig: We're trying to work out ways in which we can increase tear exchange underneath the contact lens. So, in other words, trying to get rid of things that are trapped underneath the contact lens and replacing the tears that come out with fresh tears.
Narrator: Until then, Fleiszig recommends contact wearers use daily, disposable lenses for optimal protection. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.