People who wear contact lenses are due to maintain impeccable hygiene of these aids in order to prevent potential infection of their eyes. However, even if one is actually very strict when it comes to contact lenses hygiene, there is a chance for an eye infection to occur.
In many cases such eye infection is closely related to certain fungi. These microorganisms form biofilms and adhere to the surface of the lens even though it is regularly treated with a contact lens solution. The reason why this occurs lies in fungal resistance to certain contact lens solutions.
ReNu Contact Lens Solutions and Fungal Eye infection
In 2006 there was a serious fungal eye infection outbreak in the US. The data regarding this outbreak revealed that there were 154 case of fungal keratitis reported, 94% of these people were wearing soft contact lenses and that in almost 34% of these individuals the cornea was so severely damage that they needed a cornea transplant. It was also reported that these people used ReNu With MoistureLoc contact lens solution by Bausch + Lomb's more than other lens care products.
Similar outbreak was reported in Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong prior the outbreak in the USA.
After withdrawal of those product and thorough investigation, it was confirmed that all cases of these eye infections seem to be related to the use of the mentioned product. However, there was no fungal contamination of the unopened bottles of the product.
After that FDA got more involved in the case and everything eventually ended up in 2009 when Bausch + Lomb settled about 600 lawsuits related to fungal infection outbreak.
What about Future Fungal Infections?
The previously mentioned was not the only case of fungal eye infection outbreak. Another one took place in May 2007 and was associated with a contact lens solution made by Advanced Medical Optics (now Abbott Medical Optics).
As a result FDA decided to adopt stricter guidelines when it comes to testing contact lenses and solutions for these.
Fungal Eye Infection Symptoms
Fungal eye infection does not occur so frequently, but may cause severe damage to the eye. Certain number of patients even end up with complete damage to the cornea which then needs to be replaced.
People wearing contact lenses who have developed eye irritation (redness, swelling, pain, excess tearing etc.), clouding of the surface of the eye, blurred vision or complete loss of vision and photophobia are due to consult their ophthalmologist as soon as possible because the may be suffering from fungal eye infection.
What about Prevention?
People who use contact lenses on daily basis are due to follow doctor's orders and keep their contact lenses clean. Before handling contact lenses they are due to wash and dry their hands. All rules regarding the storage case, its hygiene and replacement must be strictly followed. In spite of impeccable hygiene infection may occur but, fortunately, this occurs rarely.