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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2005

    Fungus has contact wearers groping for glasses

    Fungus outbreak (contact lenses) can cause blindness

    Bausch & Lomb Soft Contact Lens Solution Linked to Eye Infection

    Dear Doctor Column, May 1, 2006

    I’ve heard that contact lenses may be linked to a serious eye infection. Do I need to toss my contacts and go back to glasses?

    No, if your eyes are healthy, it is still safe to use contact lenses. However, depending on the brand you use, you may need to switch to another contact lens solution until government agencies pinpoint the source of the infections you’re referring to. Health authorities have reported an outbreak of fungal keratitis, a severe and painful corneal infection caused by the Fusarium fungus that can lead to permanent vision loss. Until recently, fungal keratitis occurred only rarely among people who wear contact lenses, affecting fewer than 2% of users, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Fusarium fungus occurs naturally in plants, soil, and tap water and typically infects people with compromised immune systems, certain chronic corneal diseases, or individuals who get fungus-containing plant material or soil in their eyes.

    CDC became aware of an upswing in infections in the United States in March 2006, and by April 25 had received 176 reports of patients with suspected fungal keratitis. Several patients with the eye fungus have needed corneal transplants to prevent permanent vision loss, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reports. The FDA, CDC, and state and local health departments are investigating a possible link between the unusual increase in cases and a specific brand of contact lens solution. At press time, authorities had fully investigated only 30 reported cases of Fusarium infection, but the majority of those individuals were using either Bausch & Lomb’s ReNu with MoistureLoc® or a generic version also manufactured by Bausch & Lomb.

    The company has asked retailers to pull the products from their shelves temporarily and advised consumers to choose a different lens care solution pending the investigation’s outcome. The recall does not include any other Bausch & Lomb products, and the company has said it has found no evidence the product is contaminated. However, the FDA advises people who use ReNu with MoistureLoc to immediately stop using the product and discard or return all supplies, including partially used or opened bottles. If you have any unused solution, you can visit www.bausch.com/renu or call 1.888.666.2258 to get your money back or receive a coupon for another Bausch & Lomb product.

    Symptoms of the sight-threatening eye fungus and of eye infections in general include sudden blurred or fuzzy vision, a red irritated eye that does not improve when the contact lens is removed, pain in or around the eyes, increased sensitivity to light, and excessive tearing or discharge. If you have any of these symptoms, you should remove your lenses and see your eye doctor right away. Treating fungal keratitis often involves using prescription antifungal eyedrops for as long as 3 months, but surgery is sometimes necessary to prevent corneal scarring and blindness.

    Despite recent reports, the American Optometric Association states contact lenses remain a safe and effective form of vision correction as long as wearers follow proper hygiene practices. This organization and the FDA offer the following recommendations:

    Stop using Bausch & Lomb ReNu with MoistureLoc products and discard all remaining solution including partially used or opened bottles.
    Consult your eye-care professional for advice on appropriate alternatives for cleaning and disinfecting your contact lenses.
    Even if you are using a “no-rub” solution, consider a “rub and rinse” lens cleaning method rather than a no-rub technique to minimize germs and reduce chances of infection.
    Always wash your hands with soap and water and dry them before handling lenses.
    Carefully clean contact lenses immediately after removing them from your eyes. The lens should be rubbed and rinsed thoroughly before you place it in the lens case.
    Store lenses in a clean and appropriate case, using fresh solution each time.
    Never reuse old solution.
    Keep your contact lens case clean and replace every 3 months.
    Wear and replace lenses as prescribed by your doctor.
    Follow specific lens cleaning and storage guidelines from both your doctor and the solution manufacturer.
    Remove your lenses immediately and consult with your doctor if your eyes become red or irritated or your vision changes.

    More info. at:

    Last edited by boone; 05-05-2006 at 09:27 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Planet Gong

    Re: Fungus has contact wearers groping for glasses

    Salt and distilled water; it should be so simple.
    Then, one hungover Monday morning, someone falls asleep at the switch.

    Squire Boone, for this concise and timely post, I thank ye .

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2005

    Re: Fungus has contact wearers groping for glasses

    U R welcome, dr. poormouth.

    As for the caverns in Indiana, known as Squire Boone Caverns, I haven't been to them- yet...someday, though.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Re: Fungus has contact wearers groping for glasses

    I used to always get eye infections when I had contacts. Now I know why!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2005

    Re: Fungus has contact wearers groping for glasses

    I am sorry to hear about that, kendicole!

    If anyone is interested, here is a link to a page that has details on a class action lawsuit, and also links to more news stories on the problem:


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2005

    Re: Fungus has contact wearers groping for glasses

    I acutally worked for an optometrist for almost 2 years. Do you know how many people wear their CL's for months and months on end without cleaning them thoroughly! ! ! So many people come in complaining of their contacts being hazy & such - then they would proceed to tell us that that was the same pair they had in 4 months ago when they would come in for their CL check! DAH! ! ! Of course they're going to be hazy! Many problems with CLs are caused by the person wearing them, not always necessarily with the contacts or the company manufacturing them. If people understood how extremely important it is to take care of their CLs, keeping them clean, changed every month (if they're monthlys) and had their CL checks when they're supposed to with their doctor, many of those problems wouldn't even be a problem. It's when they're told that they need to be seen in 6 weeks for a CL check, to remove them at night, gently wash them out with their solution, and discard them after the appropriate time and they choose not to - that they end up with all these beautimous eye infections. Well, if you're not gonna use them properly - it's not anyone's fault but your own!

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