That was in March 2006. Only one month later, the first lawsuit against Bausch & Lomb claiming injuries from its recalled ReNu was filed in federal court.
Of course Heather's eye infection got worse. "I started to have vision problems and it didn't matter if I was wearing glasses or contact lenses," she says. Scarring had already formed on both corneas. "I was going to college and you can imagine how much this affected me - my roommates at school were concerned that it might be contagious and I looked really scary." Heather continued to use ReNu, even for a few months after the product was recalled. She didn't have time to watch or listen to television and the radio that occasionally advertised the recall: why would she think her contact lens solution was the cause of her eye infection?
"At this point I went to an opthamologist at UCLA to see if I had developed allergies. She said that I had a serious eye infection but wasn't sure of the type and told me to discontinue wearing contacts for at least two months. She then explained that scarring had occurred and I had some tests done to determine the damage. I had to use eye drops and to this day I have to use them consistently because my eyes are so dry.
Having to deal with this eye infection was challenging to say the least; it was my first experience away from home. I am now 21 and the scarring is fading but it's going to take a longer time to get my finances back together. I hadn't budgeted for visits to the opthamologist and had to pay my own medical fees as my parents aren't in any position to help. I just want to say this to the makers of ReNu: You need to compensate people who are going to have lifelong challenges from ReNu; some people's eyes have been permanently damaged. It was horrible for me but some have it worse."
Greenville, AL: Susan James (not her real name to protect her privacy) had been using Renu with MoistureLoc right up until a few months ago. Susan doesn't have access to television and she doesn't use a computer - she didn't know anything about the recall. Apparently, neither did some retail outlets. "Last time I bought ReNu was at the dollar store around July, 2006, and just a few months before that I bought it from Wal-Mart," she says. Even after the recall, it was still available on store shelves!
"My son and I had been using ReNu," says Susan. "We didn't know this was the cause of our eye infections; I thought it was something in the house we were allergic to, like a household cleaner."
"In the past year or so I had so many problems. My eyes were dry all the time and bloodshot, no matter how often I used eye drops. Every morning I would use Visine and by the time I got to work they were dry again and burning. My son had the same problems and we were using the same product. I bought the ReNu twin pack - one for each of us.
I finally went to see an opthamologist and he told me that I had 'dry eye syndrome' and gave me a prescription for Lotemax and eye drops to moisturize. I didn't tell him that I was using ReNu; it didn't occur to me, and he didn't ask. The last time I saw him I mentioned using ReNu. He told me not to use it anymore, that it caused some kind of fungal infection.
Now my vision is blurred and I can't really tell if it has anything to do with ReNu. I recently had an eye test and my prescription changed. I am only 46 years old and it seems strange that my vision would become blurry and change so drastically in such a short period of time. My son didn't have red eyes or have vision problems like me but they were very dry and he still has to use eye drops several times a day.
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The eye doctor didn't know that I was using ReNu but I think their office should have contacted me and asked, especially with these symptoms. I had no idea about the recall; I didn't see anything about it on TV. Then my son found out about the recall from the Internet. Who is supposed to inform you about recalls? How are we supposed to know ? So much for the Age of Information if important issues like this are kept from people. I don't know why the medical profession can't work closer with these drug companies and inform their patients. I bet the drug companies don't waste any time getting their products in the door."