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Eye Health Center

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FDA Panel Eyes Contact Lens Products

FDA Advisory Panel Seeks to Curb Infection Risk From Contact Lens Products
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

June 9, 2008 -- Wear contact lenses? An FDA advisory panel is eyeing ways to curb infection risk from contact lens products.

In recent years, several companies have recalled their multipurpose solutions for contact lenses because of outbreaks of sight-threatening eye infections -- Acanthamoeba keratitis, which is caused by a waterborne parasite, and Fusarium keratitis, a fungal infection.

Tomorrow, the FDA's ophthalmic devices panel will hear an update on those outbreaks and discuss ways to test the products to help prevent further outbreaks.

The panel will also take a fresh look at the labels on contact lens products. For instance, they'll consider adding a "discard" date to the label, in addition to the expiration date. Other possibilities include recommending replacing lens cases frequently, describing the recommended rubbing and rinsing times to disinfect contact lenses, and conveying the risk of eye infection involving water activities such as showering or swimming.

Here's a quick reminder of the FDA's tips on preventing eye infections in contact lens wearers:

  • Replace your contact lens storage case every 3-6 months.
  • Clean and disinfect your lenses properly.
  • Remove your contact lenses before swimming.
  • Always use fresh contact lens solution. Never reuse the lens solution.
  • Avoid non-sterile water. That includes distilled water and tap water.
  • Never use homemade saline solution.
  • Never transfer contact lens solutions into smaller, travel-sized containers.
  • Never put your lenses in your mouth. Saliva isn't sterile.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water, and dry them, before handling your lenses.
  • Wear and replace your lenses according to the schedule prescribed by your doctor.
  • Follow instructions from your doctor and your solution manufacturer for cleaning and storing your lenses.
  • Remove the lenses and consult your doctor immediately if you experience eye symptoms such as redness, pain, tearing, increased sensitivity to light, blurry vision, discharge, or swelling.

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