Fusarium keratitis

Fusarium keratitis is a fungal infection of the cornea, the outer surface of the eye. Symptoms of a Fusarium keratitis infection include severe eye pain, blurry vision, inflammation and red eyes.

Infections of this sort were extremely uncommon in the United States until last year.

ReNu with MoistureLoc cases arise
In early 2006, ophthalmologists in the U.S. began to notice an alarming rise in the number of Fusarium keratitis infections among their patients. An investigation by the Centers for Disease Control revealed that many of these infections were among contact lens wearers and that a majority who had experienced side effects had used Bausch & Lomb’s ReNu with MoistureLoc contact lens solution.

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that ReNu with MoistureLoc failed to properly disinfect contact lenses in some cases, allowing the Fusarium fungus to spread to the eyes of contact lens wearers. Researchers found that MoistureLoc users were 20 times more likely to develop this infection than non-users.

Worldwide ReNu recall
Because of this increased infection risk, Bausch & Lomb issued a worldwide ReNu recall in May 2006. Officials from the CDC identified at least 133 confirmed Fusarium keratitis infections, the overwhelming majority of which were among users of ReNu with MoistureLoc.

The JAMA study concluded that more than one-third of these patients have or will require a complete cornea transplant in order to repair the damage from their Fusarium keratitis infections.

It was later revealed that health officials in Asia had warned Bausch & Lomb of a possible link between ReNu with MoistureLoc and Fusarium keratitis infections after an outbreak occurred in Fall 2005. However, Bausch & Lomb failed to alert health officials in the U.S. about this fact. Only five out of 68 patients with the infections in Singapore required cornea transplants due to the vigilance of its doctors.

The FDA criticized Bausch & Lomb for its delay in alerting officials of the Fusarium keratitis outbreak and in issuing the ReNu recall. A number of patients have filed ReNu lawsuits against the company, alleging that its delay in issuing the recall caused them to suffer permanent damage to their eyes.

The information on this page pertains only to ReNu with MoistureLoc and not all ReNu products.

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