Just how much are consumers of eye care products supposed to take before they have had enough? On the heels of two major disasters in the eye care industry yet another has emerged. Cooper Vision a major manufacturer of eye care products including soft contact lenses has announced the recall of five million contact lenses due to sight threatening defects.
Initially Cooper announced in August it was recalling six hundred thousand Avaira Toric lenses after wearers reported severe pain, red eyes and hazy vision. More serious injuries including torn corneas were reported as well. Now the company has recently expanded that recall to five million lenses.
As is usual, the company blamed the problem on something simple and innocuous. This time it was a silicone oil residue on the lenses that they blame for the issues customers have experienced. Also par for the course, the original “recall” included only notice to eye care professionals and not consumers. Since many contact lens wearers buy several months’ worth of lenses at a time, this type of “soft” recall leaves thousands of defective devices in consumers’ medicine cabinets. Only after pressure from the FDA did Cooper take the extra step to alert consumers directly.
The expanded recall includes not only the Avaira Toric lenses but the Avaira Sphere as well. These lenses are sold at Wal-Mart, Costco and LensCrafters.
This recall comes on the heels of two major recalls of contact lens solutions manufactured by Bausch and Lomb and Advanced Medical Optics. In 2006 and 2007 these companies were forced to recall their newest flagship lens solutions when it was determined that they were causing sight threatening infections. Users of these solutions suffered unnecessary Fusarium and Acanthamoeba infections many of which led to the need for corneal transplant surgery and permanent loss of vision. Major litigation followed. To the best of my knowledge, neither Bausch and Lomb nor AMO has tried a single case. All have been resolved through settlement.
To find out if your Cooper Vision lenses are part of the recall, click on this link and see if the lot number on your lenses matches any listed on Cooper Vision’s recall list. http://www.coopervision.com/recall