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Eye cleanser now off the market

Aug 22, 2006 |

A popular contact lens solution is now off the market because of its link to infection, but there's more to the story.

Researchers investigated the infection outbreak and its link to the solution and found that while there was a connection, proper lens hygiene still plays an important role.

Renu with Moistureloc, a contact lens cleaning solution that was taken off the market in May after some people using it got a painful eye infection called Fusarium Keratitis.

Benjamin Park of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says, "This Fusarium Fungus is very common and is in fact everywhere in the environment. It's very commonly found in bathrooms and sinks and other water sources.”

Dr. Benjamin Park and his colleagues at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention collaborated with health officials from 33 states, and with the Food and Drug Administration, to investigate the Fusarium infection outbreak.

Their findings appear in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Park also says, "There were 164 confirmed cases of Fusarium Keratitis and we found that users of Bausch and Lomb's Moistureloc solution were over 20 times more likely to get this infection than people who didn't use this solution."

In about 1/3 of the cases, the infection was so severe that patients required a corneal transplant to prevent blindness. Investigators found no contamination in the manufacturing process, or in any of the contact lens products they tested, so what's the link between Moistureloc solution and this infection?

Park says, "That is really the subject of more research, to figure out exactly what it is about the composition of the solution that allows the Fusarium fungus to grow."

Dr. Park says regardless of the solution, practice proper lens cleaning and care. Contact lens expert Michael Ward agrees. Ward of Emory Eye Center says,” Infections are rare and they're usually caused by a breakdown in hygienic practice. Of course the number one thing everyone needs to do is wash their hands prior to ever touching the contact lens."

He says this much is clear to see, following your doctor's instructions for usage, care and cleaning of your lenses will help protect your eyes from infection.

Bausch and Lomb took its Moistureloc formula off the market in May and since then there have been very few reported cases of this infection.

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