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Lens firm faces lawsuit in blindness scare

Apr 15, 2006 | US contact lens maker Bausch and Lomb Inc faced the prospect of a class-action lawsuit on Thursday after withdrawing a cleaning solution that is blamed for a spate of serious eye infections.

Parker and Waichman, a high-profile New York law firm that has successfully sued several drug companies, said it had been retained by a 53-year-old man who claims to have suffered serious damage to his sight.

The law firm has set up a website,, inviting others to report any infections they have suffered after using the Bausch solution ReNu with MoistureLoc with a view to suing the company.

The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has reported 109 cases of the suspected infection, fungal keratitis, among wearers of soft contact lenses in 17 different states.

Fungal keratitis is a painful inflammation of the cornea that can lead to blindness. “Consumers have really started reaching out,” Jason Mark, an attorney in charge of the mass tort department at Parker and Waichman, said.

“We’ve been contacted by hundreds and hundreds of people who’ve suffered injuries in connection with their use of the Renu with Moistureloc solution, including many who’ve suffered the fungal inflammation and are awaiting corneal transplants,” he said.

“Whether it takes the form of a class action or a series of individual cases remains to be determined. But we absolutely expect to file legal action,” Mark added.

Retail chains across the United States and abroad have been stripping ReNu with MoistureLoc from their shelves, after Bausch announced late on Monday that it was stopping new shipments of the solution owing to the health scare.

However, the company is adamant that it has found nothing wrong with the best-selling solution, which is used to disinfect and store soft contact lenses.

“Every additional test indicates the formulation is as safe and effective as anything else on the market,” chief executive Ronald Zarrella said on a conference call with analysts and reporters on Wednesday.

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