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Local Eye Infection Case Confirmed

Jun 13, 2006 | One of 14 incidents in Tennessee of a fungal eye infection linked to a popular contact lens solution hails from Hamilton County.  "We only had one case reported to us that was lab tested and diagnosed," says D. Marie Stoudemire, an Epidemiology Nurse at the Hamilton County Health Department.

In April, Bausch and Lomb pulled the Renu with Moisture Loc brand from store shelves after the CDC found a possible link between the solution and fusarium keratitis... a plant-borne infection that can cause blindness.  Symptoms include redness of the eye, tearing, blurry vision, swelling, pain, and discharge.

Although the health department reports only one local case, John McMahan, who handles product liability suits, says he's received 100's of calls from people suffering from symptoms of fusarium keratitis.

McMahan says "many of these people had no clue whatsoever that Renu had been recalled."

McMahan placed ads on News 12 and stations in Nashville and Georgia warning people about the dangers of this infection, if left untreated.  He's preparing a claim against Bausch and Lomb on behalf of those who used Renu with Moisture Loc and suffered an injury, like cornea damage.

"We're claiming that the product itself is defective and is unreasonably dangerous to the consuming public. And we have to prove there's an injury as well. Simply taking or using Renu is not enough," says McMahan.

Both McMahan and the Health Department continue to look for cases of this fungus.

Meanwhile, Bausch and Lomb mailed out letters this month informing customers the Moisture Loc formula will not be reintroduced.

FDA inspections of Bausch & Lomb production plants found deviations in good manufacturing processes.  Bausch and Lomb admits exhaustive testing has not eliminated the link between their product and this rare eye infection, although an exact cause remains unknown.

Stats on Fusarium Keratitis:
  • Of the 14 cases in Tennessee, 10 involved the use of Renu with Moisture-Loc.
  • 6 cases of the infection in Tennessee resulted in serious injury requiring corneal transplants.
  • Across the country, the CDC reports 122 confirmed cases.

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