Research work on germs on eyeglasses wins prestigious award

to HFU News
Photo of Dr. Birgit Fritz

Winner of this year's VDCO Peter Abel Prize: Dr. Birgit Fritz from Furtwangen University.

Prestigious prize for optometry goes to Furtwangen University

Dr. Birgit Fritz of Furtwangen University (HFU, Institute of Precision Medicine, Schwenningen Campus) was awarded this year's Peter Abel Prize of the VDCO (Association of German Contact Lens Specialists and Optometrists) for an outstanding thesis in the field of optometry. The prize was presented on 6 October in Berlin during the "SICHT.KONTAKTE" conference. The Peter Abel Prize has been awarded since 1995 for current scientific work in the field of optometry, contact lens optics and the physiology of the eye. This year the prize was endowed with €2000.

Birgit Fritz's dissertation entitled "The spectacle microbiota and its hygienic relevance" deals with the composition and activity of microbial communities on spectacles and similar objects and the hygienic relevance to be derived from this. Using the latest molecular biology methods, she was able to show that spectacles contain a particularly large number of bacteria, some of which are hazardous to health. However, damp cleaning helps to reduce these by up to 99%. With the methods established by Birgit Fritz, it is now also possible to investigate whether eyeglasses act as germ carriers in a clinical setting and contribute, for example, to the spread of antibiotic resistance.

The doctoral research was funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) as part of the CoHMed project at Furtwangen University. The aim of this project is to intensify research and transfer between Furtwangen University and the regional medical and medical technology industry. PhD supervisors were Prof. Dr. Markus Egert (HFU), Prof. Dr. Siegfried Wahl (University of Tübingen) and Prof. Dr. Focke Ziemssen (University Eye Hospital Tübingen, now Leipzig). Company partners in the project were Carl Zeiss Vision International GmbH (Aalen) and Laborärzte Singen (Singen).