The microbiology of the eye

Richard A. Armstrong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Infection of the external structures of the eye is one of the commonest types of eye disease worldwide. In addition, although relatively impermeable to microorganisms, infection within the eye can result from trauma, surgery or systemic disease. This article reviews the general biology of viruses, bacteria, fungi and protozoa and the major ocular infections that they cause. In addition, the effectiveness of the various antimicrobial agents in controlling ocular disease is discussed. Because of changes in the normal ocular flora, continuous monitoring of the microbiology of the eye will continue to be important in predicting future types of eye infection. Basic research is also needed into the interactions of microbes at the ocular surface. There is increasing microbial resistance to the antimicrobial agents used to treat ocular infections and hence, new antimicrobial agents will continue to be needed together with new methods of drug delivery to increase the effectiveness of existing antimicrobial agents.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)429-441
Number of pages13
JournalOphthalmic and Physiological Optics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2000


  • infection
  • external structures
  • eye
  • viruses
  • bacteria
  • fungi
  • protozoa
  • ocular infection
  • ocular flora


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