While contact lens wears were suffering from blurry vision and agonizing pain that, in some cases, led to emergency room hospital visits, CooperVision was recalling <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/topics/overview/coopervision-avaira-topic-contact-lens-recall-eye-injury-lawyers">Avaira Toric contact lenses in what one popular blogger described as a â€œstealth recall.â€ Now, federal health officials are considering issuing a public warning about the popular contact lenses, which are sold at Costco, Wal-Mart, and LensCrafters.
CooperVision, located in Fairport, New York, has ignored the U.S. Food and Drug Administrationâ€™s (FDA) request to expand its recall of Avaira Toric contact lenses, said msnbc.com. Limited lots of the lenses were quietly recalled in the U.S. this summer over an unidentified â€œresidue,â€ said msnbc.com. But a broader international notification, which included Hong Kong (the Hong Kong notice states that the lenses were also recalled in Canada, Germany, and Italy), Australia, and Spain, was issued for hundreds of additional lots. However, CooperVision has not widened its U.S. notification, said msnbc.com.
Meanwhile, a number of contact lens wearers told msnbc.com that the notice is too long coming after having suffered horrendous pain, vision problems, and hospital visits. About one dozen customers have come forward, so far, to the news outlet, it said.
â€œIt is very frustrating that theyâ€™re not more vocal about it and that the FDA hasnâ€™t warned more people,â€ said Mellisa Cotton, 40, of Atlanta, Georgia. Cotton was diagnosed with two corneal abrasions after wearing her Avaira Toric lenses. â€œNext to labor, a corneal abrasion is one of the most painful things you can have,” she said, reported MSNBC.
Dan Oâ€™Neil, 50, of Hampton, Virginia, said his 15-year-old daughter, Erin, was in so much pain after wearing her Avaira Toricsâ€”from a newly opened box he purchased at Wal-Martâ€”she was rushed to the hospital, wrote msnbc.com. “I noticed what first looked like a torn piece of contact on her eyeâ€¦. Upon closer examination, I realized that what I was seeing was Erin’s cornea torn and rolled back,” he told msnbc.com. Erin was diagnosed with a severe corneal tear and was treated with pain and antibiotic medications; her parents only learned of the recall after Erin suffered eye injury. “The ophthalmologist didn’t even seem to be aware of it,” said Oâ€™Neil, wrote msnbc.com.
CooperVision Inc. officials issued its U.S recall on August 19 for what it said was â€œa limited number of lotsâ€ that totaled about 10% of the Avaira Toric lenses sold or issued as samples in 2010, said msnbc.com. The company advised the FDA on August 25th and initiated the recall after it investigated what it said were a â€œsmall number of unexpected wearer reports of hazy vision and discomfort,â€ wrote msnbc.com.
Phyllis Entis, author of the eFoodAlert blog, which tracks public safety recalls, said CooperVisionâ€™s activity â€œcan only be described as a stealth recall,â€ said msnbc.com. The blog includes reports from other injured CooperVision customers including Deirdre Shapiro, 43, of Villanova, Pennsylvania, who suffered blurry vision and a scratched cornea. It “felt like someone was in there with a sharp instrument stabbing my eye,” reported msnbc.com. Shapiro stopped wearing the lenses when her doctor notified her of the recall, which was after she was wearing them for months, said msnbc.com. “Literally, my whole summer, I thought I was going crazy,” she said. “I wish I’d known. I would never have put this thing near my eye.”
While a CooperVision website notice has been posted so that customers can input a lot number to determine if they are in possession of recalled lenses, CooperVision does not provide retailer information or a complete lot listing, said msnbc.com. The very limited information can be accessed here.