Acanthamoeba keratitis outbreak tied to lens solution

Harvey Kirk

By Harvey Kirk
Posted June 6, 2007


On May 26, 2007, there was a Complete Moisture Plus recall after a recent Acanthamoeba keratitis outbreak was directly linked to the popular contact lens solution.  The serious eye infection has left many users with permanent eye damage and lawsuits are being pursued nationwide.

>>INFORMATION: Complete Moisture Plus Lawsuits

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identified the Acanthameoba keratitis outbreak after researchers at the University of Illinois in Chicago first reported an increase in the number of people diagnosed in March 2006.  The CDC gathered additional data from eye centers throughout the United States before concluding on May 25, 2007 that one particular type of contact lens solution was a substantial factor in the outbreak.

The AMO Complete Moisture Plus recall was announced after the CDC released a report that indicated users of the contact solution are over 7 times more likely to be diagnosed with Acanthamoeba keratitis.  It appears that chemicals in the contact solution may facilitate the parasite binding more readily to the lens, increasing the risk of infection.  Researchers have found that the Complete MoisturePlus solution allowed more than 90% of the strains of Acanthamoeba to grow, and nearly 60% of all individuals recently diagnosed with the amoeba infections were found to use the solution even though it only accounts for around 12% of the U.S. contact solution market.

Symptoms of Acanthameba keratitis include eye pain, redness, blurred vision, sensitivity to light, excessive tearing or feeling that something is in the eye.  These complaints are similar to many other eye problems, which make the eye infection difficult to diagnose and hard to treat.  Once the parasite invades the cornea, nearly half of the cases result in a corneal transplant or removal of the eye.

>>INFORMATION: Akanthamoeba keratitis eye infections

The last Acanthamoeba keratitis outbreak occurred in the early 1980s.  Those amoebal infections were eventually connected to the use of homemade cleaning solutions among many contact lens wearers, who were using tap water to soak their lenses.  The Acanthamoeba parasite is often found in water, even though it is very rare for the eye infections to develop.

The American Journal of Opthalmology intends to publish a research paper next week about how this recent outbreak developed.  Researchers from the University of Illinois in Chicago indicate that this current outbreak may be caused by a combination of the multi-purpose contact lens solution and a reduced use of chlorine to decontaminate public water supplies following a federal environmental mandate which took effect between 2002 and 2004.  The EPA has disputed this theory, arguing that water filtration should remove the amoebas.


The contact solution recall lawyers at Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. are reviewing potential Acanthamoeba keratitis lawsuits for users of AMO Complete Moisture Plus who suffered from this serious and potentially blinding eye infection.  If you, a friend or family member believe you may have a claim, request a free consultation.

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