Characterization and Comparison of Ocular Surface Microbiome in Newborns

Microorganisms. 2022 Jul 10;10(7):1390. doi: 10.3390/microorganisms10071390.


The ocular microbiome is of fundamental importance for immune eye homeostasis, and its alteration would lead to an impairment of ocular functionality. Little evidence is reported on the composition of the ocular microbiota of term infants and on the impact of antibiotic prophylaxis.

Methods: A total of 20 conjunctival swabs were collected from newborns at birth and after antibiotic treatment. Samples were subjected to 16S rRNA sequencing via system MiSeq Illumina. The data were processed with the MicrobAT software and statistical analysis were performed using two-way ANOVA.

Results: Antibiotic prophylaxis with gentamicin altered the composition of the microbiota. In detail, a 1.5- and 2.01-fold reduction was recorded for Cutibacterium acnes (C. acnes) and Massilia timonae (M. timonae), respectively, whereas an increase in Staphylococcus spp. of 6.5 times occurred after antibiotic exposure.

Conclusions: Antibiotic prophylaxis altered the ocular microbiota whose understanding could avoid adverse effects on eye health.

Keywords: 16S rRNA sequencing; bacteria; newborn; ocular surface microbiota.

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.