Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Update on CooperVision Contact Lens Recall

Update to CooperVision Contact Lens Recall

In representing a gentleman injured by CooperVision's Avaira Toric contact lenses I have done some digging and found out a little bit more about this recall.

First, the cause of the symptoms is thought (hoped) to be transient or reversible swelling of the surface layer of the cornea, which is known as corneal edema. UW Medicine notes that the cornea is the transparent dome overlying the colored iris of the eye. It is made up of thin layers of tissue that allow light into the eye and focus the rays of light entering the eye. The cornea and the lens of the eye, a separate structure located just behind the iris, are responsible for creating a sharply focused image on the back of the eye so that we can see clearly. Clarity of the cornea is largely dependent upon two factors: regular arrangement of protein fibers of the cornea, and the constant removal of fluid from the cornea. The endothelium of the cornea is a single layer of cells along the inner surface of the cornea that continuously pumps fluid from the cornea, keeping the cornea clear. When these cells are injured, they cannot regenerate, and fluid will accumulate in the cornea, resulting in swelling (edema) of the cornea and progressive clouding of vision.

Early symptoms of corneal edema might include blurred vision or haloes, often in the early morning. Very mild corneal edema may not require any treatment. In some cases, a physician may recommend use of a concentrated saline eye drops to draw fluid from the affected eye, thereby reducing the corneal swelling. If, however, swelling of the cornea progresses to a level that a person’s vision is substantially impaired, a corneal surgeon can transplant either the entire cornea or just the abnormal endothelial (inner) layer of the cornea from an organ donor. As you can see, corneal edema can develop into a permanent disabling condition and, until it is completely resolved, should not be dismissed as a transient or temporary condition.

Second, Phyllis Entis, MSc., SM, runs eFood Alerts and has posted a good bit on the Avaira Toric recall from CooperVision. Her post titled "CooperVision Recalls Avaira® Toric Contact Lenses" received a number of responses from consumers across the globe who have been injured by the contact lens. I would recommend you follow Ms. Entis' blog and read the comments to see if your symptoms fall in line with what others are complaining about.

Third, CooperVision, in an effort to minimize their financial exposure is having company representatives contact people they believe may have been injured by the defective product. My client received such a phone call. It is believed they are offering to pay for people's medical bills in return for a release of all claims. If you are contacted by a CooperVision representative I would recommend you contact an attorney to make sure you do not inadvertantly give up all your rights. It is worth noting that as soon as I contacted CooperVision on behalf of my client they a. did not return my phone call; and b. never called my client again. I think this speaks to the motive behind their "reaching out" to affected individuals.

For more about this recall, please read my earlier posts: CooperVision Contact Lens Recall and CooperVision Recalls Avaira Toric Disposable Contacts.

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