To date, Bausch & Lomb has spent over $250 million to settle almost 600 products liability lawsuits filed by contact lense wearers that say they sustained a potentially blinding fungal infection from using multipurpose contact lense solution ReNu with MoistureLoc. The optical products company still has dozens of individual products liability lawsuits to resolve.
In the United States alone, over 700 contact lense wearers say they suffered from Fusarium keratitis while using the solution for cleaning, moistening, and storing their lenses. In a number of cases, including one in Maryland, the injure parties had to have an eye removed. Some 60 contact lense users had to undergo corneal transplants to save their vision. One man in Baltimore got hooked on painkillers after losing his eye and had to go through rehab. Both his marriage and his business fell apart.
Between June 2005 and September 2006, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that there were at least 180 eye injury cases related to Fusarium keratitis in 35 states. Broadway actress Andrea Martin’s eye became scarred after she used the Bausch & Lomb solution and the fungal infection ended the career of one race car driver, who had to undergo a corneal transplant.
MoistureLoc was pulled from US store shelves in April 2006. The optical products company issued a global recall the following month. According to those affected with fusarium keratitis, their eyes first felt irritated until they started to experience severe pain and in many cases, their conditions were wrongly treated with steroids and antibiotics—resulting in delayed diagnosis and delay of the proper treatment. Researchers think that alexidine, a disinfectant, may have absorbed into the lenses at very fast rates and that moisturizing agents produced a biofilm that may have helped the fungus to grow.
Bausch & Lomb’s legal troubles aren’t over yet. It says it is challenging over 500 other injury lawsuits connecting MoistureLoc to other afflictions. Meantime, it is not the only contact lense solution maker to be sued for products liability. Over 170 people have sued Advanced Medical Optics because they say they sustained Acanthamoeba keratitis infections from using one of its contact lense solutions.
Symptoms of fungal keratitis can include:
• Eye discharge or tearing
• Light sensitivity
• Swollen eyelids
• Vision isn’t as sharp
• Puffy eyelids
Symptoms of acanthamoeba keratitis can include:
• Eye pain or redness or tearing
• Light sensitivity
• Blurred vision
• Feeling like there is something in one’s eye
Bausch & Lomb settles 600 eye fungus lawsuits, Baltimore Sun, May 31, 2009
Related Web Resources:
General Information about Fusarium Keratitis, CDC, May 10, 2006