In recent years, a formerly rare form of eye disease has become increasingly prevalent among contact lens users. The US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, discovered 164 cases in 33 states and in one state territory alone, a staggering 94% of sufferers were soft, contact lens users. These discoveries were made between June 1st, 2005 and June 30th, 2006. Researchers found that two products called "ReNu" and "Moistureloc" were the most likely sources of the problem. Users of the solution were twenty times more likely to develop the disease than non-users. On receipt of the findings, Bausch & Lomb immediately withdrew the products from the market.
What is fungal Keratitis?
Fungal keratitis is a disease that results from a fungus called Fusarium which is most commonly found in plants as well as in the soil. The infection is highly dangerous and can lead to permanent blindness. In 34% of cases studied among 164 sufferers in total, corneal transplantations were required to save their sight.
How do you catch fungal Keratitis?
It is unlikely that one would contract the disease currently from existing contact lens fluids, should you have old bottles of Bausch & Lomb's "ReNu" with "Moistureloc" at home, they should be disposed of immediately. An examination of the factory which the products hailed from did not reveal any traces of the fungus indicating that other Bausch & Lomb products were safe for use. Note while it is important to keep your lenses clean and to follow your doctors instructions poor lens care has at no stage been linked to the development of fungal keratitis.
Additional advice for contact lens users
Should you develop keratitis, contact an eye care professional immediately who will quickly determine if the keratitis stems from a fungal infection. Should you experience excessive redness, blurred vision, pain, swelling, discharges, excessive tearing, increased sensitivity to light or any other unusual eye related symptoms; you should remove your contact lenses and contact your doctor. These symptoms alone do not indicate the presence of a fungal infection however, they do indicate some kind of problem which may require medical treatment. It is particularly important that the casing in which the contact lenses are retained is kept clean and is changed regularly. Be sure to wash your hands with soap and water prior to handling your contact lenses.