Infection warning issued for recalled contact lens solution

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 27 May, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 27 May, 2007, 12:00am

The Health Department yesterday urged people to stop using the AMO Complete MoisturePlus contact lens solution after an investigation linked it to a rare eye infection in the United States.

The manufacturer of the solution, California-based Advanced Medical Optics (AMO), initiated a voluntary recall on Friday as the solution was suspected to be a factor in cases of Acanthamoeba keratitis, a painful eye infection that can lead to blindness.

The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration were investigating 138 confirmed cases.

A spokesman for the Health Department in Hong Kong yesterday said the importer of the solution, AMO Asia Limited, has taken action to remove the product from retailers' shelves and will set up an inquiry hotline. 'Contact lens wearers should discontinue using the product immediately and consult their doctor if they have pain, eye redness, blurred vision, sensitivity to light, a sensation of something in the eye and excessive tearing or other eye symptoms,' he said.

A statement by AMO in the US said the CDC had completed interviews with 46 patients who had developed the infection since January 2005. Thirty-nine were wearers of soft contact lenses, 21 of whom reported using AMO's solution.

The CDC estimated a risk of at least seven times greater for those who used the solution versus those who did not. The AMO said it was taking action to stop shipments, recall the product, and encourage consumers to discontinue using the solution until further information was available.

Ophthalmologist Chow Pak-chin said there were about 20 Acanthamoeba keratitis infections in Hong Kong in the past few years, but no evidence that they were linked to the solution.

'People should clean their lenses by rubbing with contact lens solution and regularly changing their lens container,' he said.

A spokeswoman for the Watson's retail chain said the company had decided to remove the solution from its shelves yesterday. Consumers who have bought the solution can get a refund from any Watson's outlet. An employee of the optical store LensCrafters in Admiralty said it had stopped selling the solution for the time being.