Drug Recall Lawyers Warn of Dangerous Contact Lens Side Effects

October 18, 2011

385768_contact_lens.jpgDrug recall attorneys at the Pintas and Mullins Law Firm are warning of serious eye problems reported by consumers using Avaira Toric contact lenses. Complaints range from blurred vision to torn corneas, and federal health officials are threatening to step in with a nationwide public alert.

The contact lenses are manufactured by CooperVision and sold widely by major retailers including Wal-Mart, Costco, and Lens Crafters. The corrective lenses are designed for people with astigmatism, and are fairly new to the market, launching in April of 2011.
However, after several months on store shelves, consumers began to complain of eye problems such as hazy vision, discomfort, and eye irritation. As msnbc.com is reporting, a limited number of lenses were eventually recalled in August, after "unidentified residue" was found on some of the lenses that appeared to be causing the reported eye complications. The recall affected about 10 percent of all Avaira Toric lenses sold in the last year.

CooperVision issued a press release notifying customers of the recall, and retailers who received shipments of the affected lenses also reached out to customers. Unfortunately, the notification was not prompt or adequate enough, and there are still many customers who continue to wear the dangerous lenses without any awareness of the serious health risk that they may cause. At least a dozen costumers have gone to hospitals and emergency rooms with impaired vision or pain since the recall was announced. Their injuries go far beyond "temporary hazy vision," and include corneal abrasions and other serious eye problems.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is concerned about the lack of widespread public notice and resulting eye injuries. The agency is asking for a broader, more public recall that will alert more retailers and their customers about problems associated with the defective lenses. Other countries, such as Hong Kong, Spain, and Australia, have already issued much wider recalls that include a list of more than 200 defective lots.

Our defective drug lawyers expect even more reports of injuries by Avaira Toric contact lens users as vulnerable consumers continue to be exposed to ongoing injuries. Manufacturers attempted to downplay the recall to the detriment of contact lens users across the United States. A wider notification is long overdue, as far too many consumers have already suffered serious eye injuries. Corneal abrasions can lead to extreme pain, because the cornea contains more nerve endings than just about any other part of the body. Blurred vision can last for weeks at a time, and corneal tears are likely to reoccur long after the abrasion appears to have healed.

Negligent companies cannot continue to put profits ahead of consumer safety and expose the public to serious health risks. CooperVision has not complied with the FDA's request for a wider recall, and innocent consumers continue to be exposed to serious health risks. With the exception of a few specific lots, a majority of Avaira Toric and other CooperVision products continue to remain on store shelves. Widespread public notice may help some lens wearers avoid severe eye injuries.