Bacteria live on our eyeballs — and understanding their role could help treat common eye diseases

<span class="caption">The eye has a collection of microbes living on the surface that keep it healthy. </span> <span class="attribution"><a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/human-eye-medical-detail-1345654691?src=3EN65aoLrSklI70CS0rGYw-1-0&studio=1" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:photoJS/Shutterstock.com">photoJS/Shutterstock.com</a></span>
The eye has a collection of microbes living on the surface that keep it healthy. photoJS/Shutterstock.com

You may be familiar with the idea that your gut and skin are home to a collection of microbes – fungi, bacteria and viruses – that are vital for keeping you healthy. But did you know that your eyes also host a unique menagerie of microbes? Together, they’re called the eye microbiome. When these microbes are out of balance – too many or too few of certain types – eye diseases may emerge.

With a recent study showing bacteria live on the surface of the eye and stimulate protective immunity, scientists are beginning to discover the microbial factors that can be exploited to create innovative therapies for a range of eye disorders like Dry Eye Disease, Sjogren’s Syndrome and corneal scarring. One day it may be possible to engineer bacteria

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