After Bausch & Lomb Inc. went private in 2007, the contact lens maker conducted a quiet recall of its ReNu with MoistureLoc solutions, without much fuss and away from the public glare.
As it now turns out, the company also quietly settled nearly 600 product liability lawsuits brought against it by contact lens wearers across the country, who contracted a fungal eye infection called Fusarium Keritatis. These persons claimed that the infection, which left some of them with permanent eye damage, was the result of using the ReNu with MoistureLoc multi purpose solution. Fusarium Keratitis is an extremely rare infection which means that when these cases of infection began to show up in 2005, ophthalmologists were not able to diagnose the infection correctly and treat it properly. As the result, 60 people suffered enough eye damage to require a cornea transplant, and at least 7 people lost an eye.
Several of these injured users have had their lives impacted dramatically by the infection. One race car driver in Colorado had to give up his passion for racing after he suffered severe eye damage. A Broadway actress who suffered scarring in her eye was also one of those who filed a product liability lawsuit against the company.
There is very little information on how the infection developed. The company has come under severe criticism from ophthalmologists and product liability lawyers, who believe Bausch & Lomb has effectively silenced the truth. The settlements were cloaked in a shroud of secrecy, and clinical findings have not been made public. However, there may still be hope. There are still several more product liability lawsuits pending against the company, and we, at the Katz law firm, hope that more information about the infections comes out then.
Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration has been jolted enough by the eye infection crisis to announce that it will be reexamining its testing standards for contact lens solutions.