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Yale J Biol Med. 2016 Sep 30;89(3):325-330. eCollection 2016 Sep.

Human Microbiota and Ophthalmic Disease.

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Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Science, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT.


The human ocular surface, consisting of the cornea and conjunctiva, is colonized by an expansive, diverse microbial community. Molecular-based methods, such as 16S rRNA sequencing, has allowed for more comprehensive and precise identification of the species composition of the ocular surface microbiota compared to traditional culture-based methods. Evidence suggests that the normal microbiota plays a protective immunological role in preventing the proliferation of pathogenic species and thus, alterations in the homeostatic microbiome may be linked to ophthalmic pathologies. Further investigation of the ocular surface microbiome, as well as the microbiome of other areas of the body such as the oral mucosa and gut, and their role in the pathophysiology of diseases is a significant, emerging field of research, and may someday enable the development of novel probiotic approaches for the treatment and prevention of ophthalmic diseases.


genomics; infection; microbiome; microbiota; ocular surface; ophthalmic disease; ophthalmology

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