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PURPOSE: To determine whether intraocular lenses (IOLs) in clinically noninfected eyes are coated with a significant, bacteria-containing biofilm. SETTING: The Oxford Eye Hospital, Oxford, United Kingdom. METHODS: Twenty-six IOLs, removed for reasons other than endophthalmitis from 26 patients attending the Oxford Eye Hospital over a 3 year period, were examined by electron microscopy. Immediately following explantation, the IOL was placed in glutaraldehyde 4% in 0.1 M phosphate buffer solution and processed for scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Areas of interest were reprocessed for transmission electron microscopy (TEM). RESULTS: There was no evidence of a bacterial biofilm on any IOL. In 5 IOLs, significant host cellular debris was seen at the tip of the haptic or at the optic-haptic junction. In 4 of them, clusters of coccoid-shaped structures were seen at the optic-haptic junction on SEM, but examination by TEM showed these structures to be melanosomes, not bacteria. CONCLUSION: We found no evidence to suggest that a significant number of IOLs are coated with a bacterial biofilm in clinically noninfected cases. We advocate the use of TEM to distinguish between coccoid bacteria and melanosomes.


Conference paper

Publication Date





1145 - 1151


Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Biofilms, Cell Adhesion, Child, Female, Fibroblasts, Humans, Lenses, Intraocular, Male, Melanosomes, Microscopy, Electron, Middle Aged, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Reoperation, Silicone Elastomers