"I used AMO contact lens solution regularly for a year or so and just after I opened a new bottle, I got an eye infection," says Susan Verver. "I didn't associate the solution with the infection at the time; instead I stopped wearing my contacts for a while.
"As soon as the infection cleared up I wore my contacts again. Of course the infection returned, almost right away. It felt like pink eye, oozy and burning. And my eyelid was pink and felt swollen
After the second infection cleared up and I was about to wear my contacts again, I learned about the AMO recall through Iris, my contact lens provider. They sent a notice in the mail because they gave me the product—AMO came with the contact lenses I bought. They asked that the product be returned and it would be replaced with another brand. I sent the opened bottle back to Iris and got one bottle in return. I started using my contacts again and I have been fine ever since."
However, this incident has been costly for Verver. Her eyes are healed but as a result of the infection she twisted her ankle on a staircase and had to cancel a trip to Rome!
Is another bottle of contact lens solution enough to replace pain and suffering and financial damages?
Edmonton, AB: Jennifer doesn't think so, not after so much agony and wondering if she would ever regain her sight.
"I used AMO for years until a few months ago—my eye started to sting," says Jennifer. "My doctor thought it was pink eye at first but I had it before and knew it was different. She sent me to a specialist and likened my eye to a crater, like someone had taken a spoon and scooped out some of my cornea. The size of this 'crater' is half the depth of my cornea and 2 mm wide. I was in agony and couldn't see any white- my eye was completely red.
At first, I thought I had a piece of glass in my eye. I was relieved that nothing was stuck in there-the damage was so perfectly centered there was no way debris could have done it and my contacts showed no damage.
I saw the specialist for three consecutive days and then she sent me to hospital where I saw a cornea specialist. He told me that it wasn't an abrasion because it was over 1mm and therefore considered an ulcer. He didn't know if it was Acanthamoeba keratitis but he confirmed that it was a parasite. He had never seen a case like mine - the severity of it and how fast it had taken over.
I was given two different antibiotics rotating every half hour. They were so potent the hospital had to make them especially for me. What freaked me out the most was the possibility that my cornea would be gone and I would be on a waiting list for a transplant -one to three years. I work on a computer so you can imagine my stress level. And not sleeping for days in a row, waiting for the results.
READ MORE LEGAL NEWSTurns out, it was a parasite they had never seen or dealt with. The day after I was admitted to the hospital, I heard about the voluntary recall from my doctor. He was familiar with the Renu recall and told me that AMO was recalled for a similar problem—parasites. It was a relief to find out but having a hole bored into my eye doesn't help - my vision is already bad.
My cornea is slowly healing. It has fully closed but the spot on the crater was left with scar tissue. When light passes through my cornea, the scar tissue scrambles it and doesn't reflect off the back properly so everything from this eye is fuzzy. If I close my right eye and squint with my left with my contact lens in, I have clear vision for about three seconds before it starts to blur. And it won't get better. The scar tissue will never go away nor can it be fixed by laser surgery. There is a good chance I won't be able to have surgery on my lens to get another prescription. All because of AMO contact lens solution."