Melimine-coated antimicrobial contact lenses reduce microbial keratitis in an animal model

Debarun Dutta*, Ajay K. Vijay, Naresh Kumar, Mark D.P. Willcox

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


PURPOSE. To determine the ability of antimicrobial peptide melimine-coated contact lenses to reduce the incidence of microbial keratitis (MK) in a rabbit model of contact lens wear. METHODS. In vitro antimicrobial activity of melimine-coated contact lenses was determined against Pseudomonas aeruginosa by viable count and a radiolabeled assay. The amount of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) associated with bacteria bound to melimine-coated and control lenses was determined. Ocular swabs from rabbit eyes were collected for assessment of ocular microflora. A rabbit model for MK was developed that used overnight wear of contact lenses colonized by P. aeruginosa in the absence of a corneal scratch. During lens wear, detailed ocular examinations were performed, and the incidence of MK was investigated. Bacteria associated with worn lenses and infected corneas were determined by viable plate count. RESULTS. Inhibition in viable and total P. aeruginosa adhesion by melimine-coated contact lenses was 3.1 log10 and 0.4 log10, respectively. After colonization, the amount of LPS on lenses was approximately the same with or without melimine. Gram-positive bacteria were found in all the ocular swabs followed by fungus (42%). Melimine-coated lens wear was protective and significantly (odds ratio 10.12; P = 0.012) reduced the incidence of P. aeruginosa-driven MK in the rabbit model. The antimicrobial lenses were associated with significantly (P < 0.001) lower ocular scores, indicating improved ocular signs compared with controls. CONCLUSIONS. This study showed that contaminated contact lenses can produce MK without corneal epithelial defect in an animal model. Melimine-coated contact lenses reduced the incidence of MK associated with P. aeruginosa in vivo. Development of MK requires viable bacteria adherent to contact lenses, and bacterial debris adherent at the lens surface did not cause keratitis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5616-5624
Number of pages9
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016

Bibliographical note

Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives License


  • Antimicrobial
  • Contact lens
  • Melimine
  • Microbial keratitis
  • Pseudomonas
  • Rabbit


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