Poster 46

Feb 19, 2017 by AAPOS editor in  Poster Session 2

Evaluating the Pediatric Ocular Surface Microbiome

Kara M. Cavuoto; Anat Galor; Ta C. Chang; Julia D. Rossetto; Eduardo Alfonso; Darlene Miller

Bascom Palmer Eye Institute
Miami, FL

Introduction:  Bacteria play an important role in maintaining health throughout the human body, including the ocular surface. Although other body surfaces have been extensively studied, relatively little is known about the ocular microbiome in children.  Traditional culture fails to reveal the diversity of the ocular surface microbiome; however, newer technologies that utilize bacterial genetic material may be useful.

Methods:  Prospective, cross-sectional study using culture and 16S sequencing.

Results:  50 patients with an average age of 37 months (range 1-168 months) were enrolled. 47 eyes of 30 patients had a positive culture. The average age differed between culture positive and negative patients (43 vs 29 months), however was not statistically significant (p=0.19). Prior surgery did not correlate with culture growth (p=0.71). Of the 52 total isolates, Coagulase negative Staphylococcus was the most common (18/52). With 16S sequencing, Staphylococcaceae and Streptococcaceae were dominant, followed by Corynebacteriaceae and Actinomycetaceae. Older children had significantly greater diversity of the ocular surface microbiome than younger children (p=0.03).  No differences were found in the observed or Shannon Diversity Index between children without prior surgery compared to unilateral or bilateral surgery (p=0.58-1.00) or right and left eyes regardless of surgery status (p=0.67-1.00).

Discussion:  16S sequencing revealed a greater variety of microbes in the ocular surface microbiome than traditional culture. Older age correlated with a more diverse microbiome. Ocular surgery does not  permanently alter the microbial composition.

Conclusion:  16S sequencing is a useful tool in evaluating the complexity of the ocular surface microbiome in children, identifying a wider diversity of microbes than culture-based techniques.

References:  1. Human Microbiome Project Consortium.  Structure, Function and Diversity of the Healthy Human Microbiome.  Nature 2012;486:207-14.
2. Ding T, Schloss PD. Dynamics and associations of microbial community types across the human body. Nature 2014;509:357-60.

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