Researchers are continuing to find new and exciting ways that the microbiome affects overall wellness and disease prevention. In fact, recently, researchers out of Yale University found that there is a diverse microbiome in your eye! To name just a few of the organisms, the ocular microbiome includes Pseudomonas, Corynebacterium, Acinetobacter, Staphylococci, Streptococcus, Streptophyta, and Methylobacterium. The researchers concluded that “evidence strongly suggests that the homeostatic microbiome plays a protective role in preventing colonization of pathogenic species.” In other words, just like in your gut, the beneficial bacteria in your eyes prevent infection by harmful germs.
In addition, researchers found that the strongest evidence of a diverse and complex microbiome in the eye is in the conjunctiva and cornea (the conjunctiva is the mucus membrane that covers the front of the eye ,and the cornea is the clear protective outer layer of the eye). The role of the microbiome is to enhance the metabolic and immune functions that help ward off pathogens within the body’s systems, so it makes sense that the parts of the eye responsible for protecting the eye from outside pathogens have the most abundant microbiome.