noun. a slimy, sticky film of bacteria that coats a surface
Bacteria are survivors, and they have done so for eons with their evolving survival skills. In nature, most bacteria exist not as free-floating individuals but rather as highly organized communities called biofilms. A biofilm is composed of a well-hydrated matrix of bacteria and their glycocalyx, a sugary coating that allows cells to adhere to and communicate with each other. This protective armor is highly difficult to penetrate–even by antibiotics, surgical iodine prep and, believe it or not, human white cells.
We propose that these bacterial survival skills are the very factors that cause dry eye disease.
Biofilms can form on any surface that provides moisture and nutrients. The eyelid margin—with its moisture, nutrients and warmth—is the perfect environment to cultivate a thriving bacterial biofilm. In fact, it would be unrealistic to suggest that a biofilm does not exist on the lid margin. A biofilm probably begins forming just after birth when the lids become colonized with bacteria.