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Swedish Opticians Pull Lens Solution

Apr 13, 2006 | AP

Some of the Nordic region's largest optician chains have halted sales of a lens solution made by U.S. company Bausch & Lomb Inc. while American health officials investigate whether it is responsible for a flurry of eye infections, company executives said Thursday.

Swedish optician chains Synsam, which has about 300 stores in Sweden, Finland and Norway, and Specsavers Blic Optik have both stopped sales of the ReNu with MoistureLoc contact-lens solution and are advising customers to change to a different brand.

American federal officials have linked the solution to a rare fungal infection that can cause blindness, but health officials are still examining whether it is to blame for the mysterious infections.

Bausch & Lomb stopped shipments of the solution in the U.S. Monday but has not halted sales in Europe where no cases of the illness have been reported.

However, Synsam's Chief Executive Gunnar Harbom said the chain will not sell the solution until experts can rule out any health hazards.

"Until this has been investigated in the USA, the suspicion still remains," Harbom said. "And for us the suspicion is enough."

About 25 percent of Synsam's customers who use contact lenses had been using the ReNu solution, he said.

Specsavers Blic Optik, which is owned by Britain-based Specsavers, also pulled the solution from its more than 40 stores in Sweden "until we receive clear answers about what is really causing" the fungal infections, the company said on its Web site.

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