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Clarifying the View of Contact Lens Care

Sep 5, 2006 | The Ukraine Observer

In May 2006, Bausch and Lomb recalled their Renu eye contact solution in the United States. Shortly thereafter they also did so in Hong Kong and Singapore. There wasn't much fan-fare surrounding the recall, it was just one of those things that surfaced in the news for a day or two and was immediately dismissed.

Recently however, Bausch and Lomb have entered the news again. The news headlines are quite attention grabbing: "Contact Lens solution eyed in fungus outbreak"; "The eye fungus among us thanks to MoistureLoc"; "Bausch and Lomb issues Renu contact lens solution doctor advisory".

As contact lens users here can confirm, buying contact lens solution in Ukraine can be a bit of a challenge. Only certain pharmacies and official optical shops sell solution, usually at higher prices than we are used to paying elsewhere. Also, Bausch and Lomb seem to have something akin to a monopoly in Kyiv. In fact, I have yet to see another brand of contact lens solution on display. Bausch and Lomb's Renu solution is considered one of the top brands of lens solution, so up until recent events, such a monopoly has been the least of our eye care worries. Now the situation seems less clear.

It turns out a naturally occurring fungus named fusarium, usually only found in plants and soil, has formed an alliance with one of the components in Renu multipurpose contact solution with MoistureLoc. The result is an eye fungus that can lead to blindness (or a necessity of cornea transplants) if not treated quickly. Symptoms of the eye fungus include blurry vision, pain or redness, increased sensitivity to light and excessive discharge from the eye, but it is not transmitted from person to person.

Interestingly, this eye fungus only occurs in users of contact solution with MoistureLoc. People who use Renu multipurpose contact solution without the MoistureLoc component are unaffected. Bausch and Lomb is still trying to determine why and how the fungus is interacting with the contact solution that contains 'MoistureLoc', but in the meantime has advised contact lens wearers to use the solution without it.

This is easier said than done around here. I went searching for Renu contact solution without MoistureLoc and found that most places are still selling the solution with the additive in question. I finally located plain multipurpose solution in a state pharmacy, and promptly bought a bottle and began to use it instead of my potentially fungus inducing MoisureLoc one. If you choose to continue using the bottle you have, I recommend being more vigilant about lens hygiene than usual and if you start to develop any of the above mentioned symptoms, get medical help immediately. Many things can be replaced, but eyesight is not one of them.

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