CooperVision has recently recalled more than five million products after finding that harmful silicon oil reside had contaminated the lenses. People have experienced eye injuries that range from hazy vision to vision loss that needed immediate emergency attention.
What is the problem?
CooperVision is the company responsible for the production and distribution of some of the most popular types of contact lenses available in the United States. Millions of people have been prescribed these contacts to correct astigmatism, myopia (nearsightedness), and hyperopia (farsightedness).
In the summer of 2011, the company began receiving reports that some customers had suffered from serious eye injuries after using the contact lenses. They began an investigation, which found that the contact lenses had unintentionally been coated with a harmful silicon oil residue.
Some consumers who used contaminated contacts experienced hazy vision, blurry vision, eye irritation, and temporary eye pain. Some people had far more serious problems, however, including vision loss. These people were forced to seek emergency medical treatment.
The FDA Issues Class 1 Recall
What is a Class 1 Recall? This is the highest level of a recall that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) can issue. This level is reserved for products that place consumers at immediate risk of serious harm. Other instances that necessitate a Class 1 FDA recall are defective artificial heart valves, food contaminated with bacteria that can cause food poisoning, and label problems on pharmaceutical medications.
When were the defective contact lenses sold?
CooperVision has voluntarily recalled its defective products. The Avaira Sphere and Avaira Toric contacts included in the recall were created between February 1, 2011 and August 24, 2011. If you use these products, it is possible that you purchased defective products between March 2, 2011 through November 15, 2011.
- The recall began in August 2011, after CooperVision received reports of eye injuries from people who had used Avaira Toric and Avaira Sphere contact lenses. The company found that the lenses were contaminated with silicon oil residue. The initial recall only included a few lots of Avaira Toric lenses.
- On November 16, 2011, the recall expanded dramatically. The company notified the FDA and the public that more than 600,000 products may have accidentally been coated with the silicon oil residue.
- On December 7, 2011, the recall expanded yet again — this time to include more than five million products.
The Avaira Toric Lawyer at the Schmidt Firm LLP will continue to update you if there are further recalls.
I use Avaira Toric contact lenses. What can I do?
- Your contacts may be contaminated, so you should stop wearing them immediately.
- Don’t throw out the contacts or their box. The lot number is printed on the box, and you will need this number to find out if your contacts are part of the recall. Keep your contacts and the box in a safe place.
- Tell your optometrist. Especially if you have been injured, your optometrist should contact the FDA to report your injury. The FDA will collect information about your report and use it to protect and inform everyone about dangerous products. You can call the FDA hotline yourself at: 1-800-332-1088.
What is Astigmatism?
CooperVision Avaira Toric and Avaira Sphere contact lenses are used by millions of people in the U.S. to treat astigmatism, which is a vision problem that occurs when the cornea is shaped incorrectly. The cornea is the clear tissue on the front of the eye, which focuses light inside the eye. If it is shaped abnormally, the eye is unable to focus light correctly. The result is blurry vision, both up close and far away. Avaira Toric corrects this problem by sitting on the surface of the eye, thus changing the way light enters the eye. Sometimes, people with severe astigmatism have eye discomfort, migraine headaches, and eye pain.
What is Myopia and Hyperopia?
Avaira Toric contact lenses are also prescribed to millions of Americans to treat myopia and hyperopia, which are the technical terms for “nearsightedness” and “farsightedness.”
A person with myopia, or “nearsightedness,” can see objects that are close, but not far away. Similarly, a person with hyperopia or “farsightedness” can see things that are far away clearly, but not close up. Both these eye problems occur as a result of an incorrectly shaped lens, which focuses light on the wrong part of the internal eye. Myopia usually worsens with age, while hyperopia often disappears as a person ages. These eye problems are readily treatable with contact lenses and glasses. Modern medicine also provides people with LASIK eye surgery, which can improve or treat some of the worst symptoms of myopia and hyperopia.