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Article
March 1941

LYSOZYME AND THE ANTIBACTERIAL PROPERTIES OF TEARS

Arch Ophthalmol. 1941;25(3):491-509. doi:10.1001/archopht.1941.00870090115014
Abstract

Postoperative infections of the eye were relatively infrequent even in pre-Listerian days. The earlier bacteriologists noted the comparatively few organisms which could be cultivated from the normal conjunctivas. They found that organisms placed in the conjunctival sac rapidly disappeared therefrom (Stort;1 Bernheim;2 Bach;3 Hirota,4 and others). Considerable evidence was gathered in support of the view that mechanical factors, such as constant flushing by the tears and winking of the eyelids, were responsible for keeping the conjunctivas free from organisms (Leber;5 Stort;1 Bernheim;2 Bach;3 Römer;6 Hirota;4 Schirmer7). That the tears or conjunctival fluids have a bactericidal or inhibitory action was also early suggested, and many workers attempted to demonstrate such actions in vitro.

THE ANTIBACTERIAL ACTION OF TEARS  "Tears" as usually obtained from the conjunctivas are mixtures of lacrimal and conjunctival secretions containing exfoliated epithelial cells, occasional leukocytes and probably

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