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Bausch & Lomb lens debacle studied

Aug 22, 2006 | UPI

U.S. officials said Tuesday they have learned more about a cluster of cases of an eye infection linked to lens solution ReNu with MoistureLoc.

Earlier this year, the product which Bausch & Lomb withdrew from the market -- was blamed for an outbreak of the corneal infection Fusarium keratitis in contact lens wearers.

Fusarium keratitis, a fungal infection of the cornea, can lead to permanent blindness or the need for corneal transplantation.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said it has received 164 reports of Fusarium keratitis infections between March and June 30, 2006.

Fifty-five of these patients required corneal transplants.

In response, CDC researcher Douglas Chang led a group of scientists in a search to determine the specific activities, contact lens hygiene practices, or products associated with the outbreak.

Since 94 percent of the infected patients wore soft contact lenses, the team compared data on 45 of them with data on 78 healthy, lens-wearing controls. They discovered that patients were 20 times more likely than the control group to report that they used ReNu with MoistureLoc.

The use of ReNu MultiPlus solution was similar among case patients and controls and was not associated with the infection.

No infection was found at the manufacturer's factory, warehouse, or in unopened solution bottles of implicated lots, so the team has hypothesized that contamination took place in patients' homes and the solution was not able to neutralize the organism.

The researchers said they are conducting tests to confirm their theory, but have advised all soft contact lens wearers to discontinue the use of the product.

The CDC report appears in the August 23/30 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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