Bausch & Lomb quietly settling lawsuits related to contact-lens cleaning solution

The Associated Press reports that, at a cost of “upward of $250 million” so far, contact lens manufacturer Bausch & Lomb, Inc. “has quietly settled nearly 600 fungal-infection lawsuits” relating to its “flagship lens cleaner,” ReNu with MoistureLoc, “a new-formula multipurpose solution for cleaning, storing, and moistening soft contact lenses.”

To date, “more than 700 lens wearers in the United States and Asia say they were exposed to a potentially blinding infection known as Fusarium keratitis,” with seven people having needed “to have an eye removed,” and with “at least 60 more” needing “vision-saving corneal transplants.” How the contact-lens solution “caused the problem” still remains unclear. Arthur Epstein, OD, FAAO, “who was chairman of the American Optometric Association’s contact lens and cornea section during the highly publicized crisis,” stated, “All settlements were predicated on silence about the clinical findings.” He added, “My hope was that what actually happened would become part of public record in a courtroom. That way, we’d be able to learn from it and move on and make sure it never happened again.”

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