“A friend of mine told me to check on recalls with contacts since I have been suffering with problems since the first week in July. It started when I went for an eye exam and got fitted for new lenses. I was given a new pair and that’s when my troubles began. I had itchy eyes, some burning pain, swollen eyelids and discharge.  I have been treated twice with antibiotics and my eyes clear. Then treated as allergies.   Every time I put in a new pair I am back to the same problems. Now I am on steroid drops because my eyelid inflammation and itching won’t go away. I have not worn lenses in a month. I can’t believe none of my doctors thought of this. I have spent so much on doctors visits and medications.  I am going to tell my doctor tomorrow and contact the company. I can’t believe I have been suffering for months over this. I wear Ultra Flex toric lenses and I bought them the first week of August.”

– comment posted October 2nd by Christina (in Florida)

So many people have reported their problems with CooperVision’s Avaira® Toric contact lenses to eFoodAlert that I have set up a Toric Recalls page tab. All posts relating to this problem – together with their associated comments – are listed on the Toric Recalls page.

The contact lens story began in August, when I encountered a recall notice posted by the Hong Kong Department of Health. According to the Hong Kong notice, the recall affected CooperVision Toric contact lenses in the USA, Canada, Hong Kong, Australia, Spain, Germany and Italy. So far, only Hong Kong, Australia, Spain and Italy’s health authorities have posted formal recall notices.

Neither the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) nor Health Canada have alerted the public to the contact lens recall, although FDA has told me that the agency is monitoring the US situation. Nor – as far as I can tell – has Germany posted a recall notice.

When I read Christina’s comment (quoted above), I noticed that her contact lens brand – Ultra Flex – is not a CooperVision brand. It belongs to Ocular Sciences, Inc. (California). Ocular Sciences manufactures and markets contact lenses under a number of brand names, including: Biomedics, Hydrogenics60, EdgeIII, ProActive, SmartChoice, UltraFlex, Subsoft, Lunelle, Rythmic, and Hydron.

The Connection

The various brands of Toric lenses encompassed by the CooperVision recall were manufactured by CooperVision Manufacturing Ltd. (UK), located in Eastleigh, England. Likewise, one of Ocular Sciences manufacturing sites is in Eastleigh – right around the corner from CooperVision. And there is more.

John D. Fruth, the founder – and former Chairman – of Ocular Sciences Inc., was President of CooperVision’s contact lens division before he founded Ocular Sciences. And he served as a Director of The Cooper Companies (CooperVision’s corporate parent) from 2005 to March 2008.

It doesn’t take a major leap of deductive reasoning to suspect that CooperVision’s Eastleigh production facility may have manufactured Toric lenses for Ocular Sciences. If my suspicion is correct, the list of Toric brands that may be implicated in CooperVision’s “residue” contamination problem would include all of the following.

CooperVision Toric Lens brands: Avaira®, BioComfort XO, Encore 100, and Lent Soft 4 Air.

Ocular Sciences Toric Lens brands: AquaLens, Aqualite, Aquatech, Bioflex, Biomedix, Clearsoft, Clinasoft, Flextique, Hydroflex, Hydrovue, Mediflex, Natural Sight, Neoflex, Omniflex, Optiflex, Optiform, Polyflex, Polysoft, Procon, Proflex, Prosite, Sofmed, Softech, Softview, Target, UltraFlex, and Versaflex.

If you wear one of these brands of contact lenses and have experienced corneal abrasion, blurred vision, or any eye discomfort, please contact your eye doctor, report the problem, and refer him or her to the Toric Recalls page for more details.