Product Defect - Opti-Free Replenish Contacts Lens Solution
Opti-Free Replenish is a contact lens disinfecting solution made by Alcon. The purpose of the Alcon Opti-Free Replenish product is to recondition the tear duct of one’s eyes to create a shield of moisture to keep contact lenses comfortable all day. Opti-Free Replenish is marketed and designed for those who use soft contact lenses, including silicon hydrogel.
However, it has become known that Opti-Free Replenish contact lens solutions have been the cause of a severe drug-resistant bacterial infection. Users of this product have recently been diagnosed with stenotrophomonas maltophilia.
Alcon promotes the Opti-Free Replenish product featuring the proprietary name, “TearGlyde” which is a reconditioning system that is supposed to work to create moisture in the eye to make contact lenses comfortable.
This bacterial infection, stenotrophomonas maltophilia (S. maltophilia) is a rare bacterial infection but can be very serious. This kind of bacteria is usually found in the body without causing any particular harm. The danger with this strain of bacteria is that if an individual is hospitalized for something different, the bacteria that were introduced to the eye may impair the immune system and make the patient more susceptible to other infections.
The symptoms of stenotrophomonas maltophilia are related to organ systems that have become infected. These include peritonitis, meningitis, wound infections, urinary tract infections (UTIs), eye infections, bacteremia and pneumonia.
Like many bacterial infections, they can be treated by different kinds of antibiotics. As for stenotrophomonas maltophilia, it is currently being treated with an antibiotic called trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (it has also been referred to as TMP-SMX). Some infectious disease physicians have commented that if this antibiotic therapy (TMP-SMX) is not available, other antibiotics may be used to try to eradicate the infectious process caused by stenotrophomonas maltophilia. This bacteria and its associated serious causes of illness can be life-threatening. The duration of the antibiotic process may depend on the seriousness of the infection and where the infection has lodged itself.
In a 2009 study that was presented in Singapore at the Eighth National Congress on Optometry, it was revealed that some contact lens solutions make the eyes more susceptible to infections by causing cell damage that strips away the eyes’ natural protective shields. It was suggested in this study that Opti-Free Replenish is one of those contact lens solutions that are toxic to cells. In fact, the authors of this study suggest that the product may damage the corneal epithelium which serves to protect the outer part of the cornea. With the breakdown of that shield, there is an increased risk of bacterial infection entering the body.
In 2007, Advanced Medical Optics, which is now owned by Abbott Medical Optics pulled its contact lens solution off the U.S. market because it had been associated with a development of potentially blinding eye infection called acanthamoeba keratitis. That contact lens solutions was marketed as Complete MoisturePlus.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have been urged to adopt tougher guidelines for the testing of contact lenses and contact lens solutions before they reach the marketplace. The suggested stricter guidelines have been promoted by a panel of eye care experts. This panel recommended that the FDA develop standardized lens care guidelines for users. One of the warnings that was strongly recommended is that the user of the product not to top off the bottle of solutions with water or to use tap water to soak contact lenses.
In pharmaceutical defect cases, it must be alleged and proved that the product such as Opti-Free Replenish was sold with design, manufacturing and marketing defects. But it also must be alleged and proved that the company, Alcon, chose not to warn of the certain side effects, including the spread of infection. It also must be alleged and proved that Alcon chose not to warn physicians and patients about the real risk of acquiring the bacteria stenotrophomonas maltophilia which could lead to other various serious bacterial infections.
If you or someone you know has suffered an injury caused by using Opti-Free Replenish contact lens solutions, please call us for an immediate free consultation.
Robert Kreisman of Kreisman Law Offices has been handling product defect cases for more than 40 years. Kreisman Law Offices has prevailed in trials and settlements in Chicago, Illinois and surrounding communities and has successfully resolved cases for those injured because of pharmaceutical product defects.
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