When I was in graduate school, one of my professors handed the class a short quiz on the first day of the semester. One of the questions on that quiz was – ‘what is the most important lifeform on earth?’ The majority of students answered humans and others answered insects. To be honest, no one got that question right, not even me. the professor then went on to teach the class that bacteria are the most important lifeforms on earth. We learned that there is no chemical reaction known to man that does not occur naturally in at least one form of bacteria. There are bacteria who eat lead, arsenic, sulfur, crude oil and so much more. He then went on to tell us that a human being has more bacteria in and on them than they have human cells and that without those bacteria, we could not live.
Most people are familiar with the trillions of bacteria found in the human gut (stomach and intestines). Maintaining that monstrous population of bacteria in our gut is why things like yogurt and pro-biotics are so popular. Yes, yogurt is excellent in obtaining and keeping beneficial gut bacteria.
I’ve explained before that when you run a high fever, the majority of the gut bacteria die, which in turn causes one to vomit or have diarrhea. That’s why the old wives’ tale of feed a cold, starve a fever is actually sage advice. It also means that after you mend and the fever drops, it’s important to replace the gut bacteria you lost with the fever and that can be done with things like yogurt and probiotics.
There are also many bacteria on the surface of your skin that helps remove dead skin cells and other beneficial factors. They also play a role in keeping you healthy.
But, did you know that your eyes are also home to beneficial bacteria?
We are told to be careful about gets in our eyes or what eye drops to use or what is the best solution for contact lenses, but are we ever told about maintaining the bacteria on our eyes?
Recent studies have revealed what scientists are referring to the eye microbiome, made up of a host of bacteria. They have discovered that when the eye microbiome gets to be too few or too many, it can result in certain types of eye disease.
where to buy Keppra in the uk For the last decade, the role of the microbiome in ocular health was controversial. Scientists believed that healthy eyes lacked an organized microbiome. Studies showed that bacteria from the air, hands or eyelid margins could be present on the eye; however, many believed these microbes were simply killed or washed away by the continual flow of tears.
Only recently have scientists concluded that the eye does, indeed, harbor a “core” microbiome that appears dependent on age, geographic region, ethnicity, contact lens wear and state of disease.
The “core” is limited to four genera of bacteria Staphylococci, Diphtheroids, Propionibacteria and Streptococci. In addition to these bacteria, torque teno virus, implicated in some intraocular diseases, also counts as a member of the core microbiome as it is present on the surface of the eye of 65% of healthy individuals.
This suggests that doctors should think more deeply about the risks and benefits to the microbiome when prescribing antibiotics. The antibiotics may kill bacteria that are providing a benefit to the eye.
One example discovered involves the treatment for acute conjunctivitis (pink eye). A study of 340,000 patients in the US revealed that 60% of those with pink eye were treated with antibiotic eye drops, which are designed to kill off bacteria on the eye. However, most cases of pink eye are caused by a virus, not a bacteria and that antibiotics don’t affect the viruses, but they do kill off some of the good eye microbiome.
Next time you look into the mirror at your eyes, realize that there is a whole host of bacteria living on the surface of your eyes and that those bacteria actually help prevent many eye infections and diseases, just like the bacteria in your gut, on you skin, in your lungs and other areas. Also realize that those tiny bacteria play a more important role to all of life on earth than humans do.