It had seemed to the casual observer that Bausch & Lombh had seen the worst of the bad press surrounding the recent fusarium keratitis outbreak. However, the Wall St. Journal reported today that doctors and eye clinicians had known nine years ago that multipurpose solutions were prone to health risks.
According to the Journal, “Some academic and industry researchers also fear that certain solution brands, when used with certain contact lenses, may cause damage to the surface of the eye. This phenomenon is known as “corneal staining.” Though the premise is still unproved, some researchers think that corneal staining could predispose some people to infection.
Hints of problems with multipurpose solutions began to emerge in the late 1990s. In 1999, Indiana State University microbiologist Kathleen Dannelly added Pseudomonas aeruginosa — an organism that causes eye infections — to five popular contact-lens solutions. She wanted to test the solutions under conditions that mimicked an infection, using higher amounts of bacteria than industry testing standards require.
Dr. Dannelly found that Bausch’s ReNu MultiPlus, the company’s leading solution at the time, didn’t kill the bacteria as well as the other brands. The results of the independently funded study appeared in the trade journal Contact Lens Spectrum in 2000.”