ATLANTA (CBS Atlanta) – According to a new study, bacteria that can cause serious eye infections are able to survive longer in contact lens cleaning solution.

Researchers examined different strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa.  P. aeruginosa causes microbial keratitis, which is an inflammation and ulceration of the cornea that can cause loss of vision.

Researchers gathered nine strains of P. aeruginosa from hospitals patients in Britain. They then compared the strains to P. aeruginosa strain 9027, which is the standard one used in tests by makers of contact lens disinfectant solutions.

CBS News reported that most of the strains were killed within 10 minutes, except for strain 39016.  That strain, which causes more severe cases of keratitis with a longer healing time, survived in the solution for more than four hours.

Researchers suggest that tests of contact lens solutions should determine if they can kill all P. aeruginosa strains.

“Microbial keratitis can be devastating for a patient – it is important that the risk of developing this condition is reduced in contact lens wearers by improving contact lens disinfectant solutions,” Craig Winstantley, the study’s lead author, said in a press release obtained by CBS News.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that Pseudomonas infections usually occur in people in hospitals or with weakened immune systems. It can be spread on the hands but good hand hygiene can lower the risk of infecton.  Pseudomonas infections are generally treated with antibiotics.

Being the study has not yet been published; it should be viewed as preliminary.

The findings will be presented at a Society for General Microbiology meeting in Liverpool, England on Wednesday.

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