Contact Lens-Related Fungal Infections

Optometrists and ophthalmologists promote appropriate caring of contact lenses through their recommended lens solutions to reduce contact lens-related eye infections.

Yet some risk lasts even with proper care for contact lenses like fungal eye infections.

Contact lens solutions are resisted by fungi because biofilms are immediately formed. Biofilms are collective microorganisms formed on a soft contact lens. Bacteria and fungi produce a slimy matrix which aids the microorganisms to linger on the lens surfaces resisting the lens solution and making it harder to disinfect.

Contact Lens-Related Fungal Infections

ReNu Contact Lens Solution and Fungal Eye Infections

There are instances where fungal eye infections related to contact lenses result from the contact lens solutions.

The United States had a significant fungal eye infection in 2006. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States said:

  • 154 cases of fungal keratitis were reported in 33 states from June 2005 until June 2006.
  • 34 percent of the cases were critical that cornea transplant was needed.
  • About 94 percent of these cases happened on people wearing soft contact lenses.
  • Those who have used Bausch + Lomb’s ReNu With MoistureLoc contact lens solution were more than 20 times more likely to acquire the infection than other solutions.

Before the fungal outbreak in the United States, cases reported in Malaysia, Singapore, and Hongkong from late 2005 to early were associated with ReNu with MoistureLoc. In 2006, fungal eye infections in Europe were related to the same product.

Contact Lens-Related Fungal Infections

Global Market Pullout

By the year 2006, Bausch + Lomb (Rochester, N.Y.) deliberately pulled out products by ReNu With MoistureLoc from the global market while continuing the investigation on the product-related infections.

The investigators discovered that the products from the manufacturing facility at Bausch + Lomb’s Greenville, S.C. showed relations on the fungal eye infection cases. But there have been no no fungal contaminants found by the CDC on the unopened bottles produced at the facility.

As the FDA inspected their facility, the Bausch + Lomb failed the adequate temperature control maintenance in producing, storing, and transporting Renu With MoistureLoc from the Greenville plant.

Researchers, later on, reported that ReNu With MoistureLoc showed a considerable loss of disinfecting properties compared to other contact lens solutions exposed to a higher temperature for longer periods.

News reports in June 2009 indicated that Bausch + Lomb addressed a minimum of 600 lawsuits associated with the contact lens-related fungal eye infection outbreak and paid a settlement fee of roughly 250 million dollars.

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