New Precautions for Contact Lens Wearers

Fusarium Infections Among Contact Lens Wearers

Bausch and Lomb has permanently suspended U.S. sales of ReNu® with MoistureLoc® produced at its Greenville, S.C., manufacturing facility in order to facilitate the further investigation of reports of fungal keratitis infections among contact lens wearers in the United States. This action does not affect any other Bausch and Lomb products. The announcement follows the release of a report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that it is reviewing reports of 109 cases of suspected fungal keratitis. The CDC (Center for Disease Control) reports that the majority of cases have yet to be reviewed, but of the 30 cases reviewed to date, 28 involved contact lens wearers. 21 reported using ReNu brand contact lens care products and five reported using a combination of ReNu and products manufactured by other companies. Bausch and Lomb has been collaborating with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the CDC, major eye centers and health authorities in a comprehensive investigation to determine if the reports represent an increase in the historical incidence of these infections, and to determine the root cause.

If you use ReNu solutions, Mass. Eye and Ear recommends the following:

  • Any bottles of ReNu with MoistureLoc should be thrown out and other products should be used.
  • Patients currently using ReNu should change to another disinfecting solution.
  • Contact the eye care provider who prescribes your lenses to see which alternative solution is recommended for your particular contact lenses.
  • Do not use contact lenses if either eye is red, uncomfortable or sensitive to light. Remove your contact lenses immediately if these symptoms occur and seek care from an ophthalmologist (a medical doctor trained in the diagnosis and management of eye diseases such as corneal ulcers).
  • If it is an emergency, you can visit the Mass. Eye and Ear Emergency Room  which is well-equipped to do cultures, etc.

Patients with fungal keratitis should consider seeking care from a corneal specialist (an ophthalmologist who has undergone specialized training in the diagnosis and management of and the surgery for serious corneal problems). Fungal corneal infections are uncommon and difficult to treat. They are best managed by a physician with experience with these infections.

Mass. Eye and Ear recommends the following suggestions for caring for your contact lenses:

Carefully and regularly clean contact lenses, as directed by the eye care provider who prescribed them and the patient information included with lens care products.

  • Wash your hands with soap and water before handling your contact lenses.
  • Rub the contact lenses with fingers (if required by the particular disinfecting solution) and rinse thoroughly before soaking the lenses overnight in enough multi-purpose solution to completely cover the lenses.
  • Store lenses in the proper case and replace the lens storage case at least every three months. Replace sooner if the case appears damaged or dirty. Clean the contact lens case after each use and keep the case open and dry between cleanings.
  • Use the proper products to clean and disinfect contact lenses as recommended by the provider who prescribes your contact lenses. Remember that saline solutions and rewetting drops are not designed to disinfect lenses.
  • Only fresh solution should be used to clean and disinfect contact lenses. Never re-use old solution. Do not "top-off" by putting fresh solution in the same case as solution that has already been used. Contact lens solution must be changed every day, even if the lenses are not used daily.

For more information contact the Mass. Eye and Ear Contact Lens Service.