Public Health Watchdog Warns about Eye-Burning Effects of Clear Care Contact Lens Solution by Ciba Vision, Novartis

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The non-profit safety group ISMP has called for stronger warning labels on Clear Care contact lens solution (manufactured by Ciba Vision, Novartis), which has been associated with chemical burns and eye injuries when used conventionally. Public Health Watchdog is advising users to read labels carefully; if afflicted, flush the eye with copious amounts of water or saline solution and seek medical attention as needed.

Public Health Watchdog, a media outlet created to protect and warn consumers about the dangers of defective products, is alerting contact lens users to a report from the Institute of Safe Medicine Practices (ISMP) regarding painful and possibly damaging effects of Clear Care contact lens solution, which is manufactured by Ciba Vision, a Novartis subsidiary.

Clear Care’s packaging looks similar to other brands of contact lens solution. But as the ISMP report makes clear, many users have painfully discovered that it cannot be used in the same manner. Unlike other solutions, Clear Care contains 3 percent hydrogen peroxide, which must be neutralized inside a special case for at least six hours before use. Using the solution in an ordinary flat-lens case or rinsing your lenses right before insertion “will burn and sting your eyes” the Clear Care website states.

According to the ISMP, there are hundreds of complaints linked to Clear Care’s eye-burning effects. The organization has been advocating for stronger warning labels for the past two years, and has advised the manufacturer to redesign their packaging. Currently, the product has a red warning label and a cardboard insert with instructions about using the solution as directed. But ISMP President Michael R. Cohen feels that the difference needs to be more distinct, “It’s definitely not adequate. Obviously we’re still hearing these things,” he said, according to an MSNBC report published on June 6. Cohen stated that the Clear Care reports “probably ranks up there with the largest number we have ever seen for one product issue.”

According to MSNBC, Cohen isn’t the only one who feels that Clear Care should have stronger warnings. In a MAUDE report to the FDA, one user said “My eye slammed shut like I had acid in it and it took me 5 minutes to dig it out…I believe there should be a huge caution banner across the bottle so consumers understand the result of not using their ‘special case’ is that your eye will be burned with peroxide.”

Consumer Reports also highlighted the issue in June 2010, with an article titled “Don’t rinse your contact lenses with Clear Care, because you’ll burn your cornea.” The piece was written by senior program editor Nancy Metcalf, whose daughter experience severe pain and burning after mistakenly using the product.

Since Clear Care’s packaging may not be entirely obvious, it is important for users to read the instructions before using their contact lens solution, especially when borrowing an unfamiliar product from a friend. In the event that the solution is misused, users are advised to flush the eye with copious amounts of water or saline solution. Users should seek medical attention if the burning persists.

About Public Health Watchdog
Public Health Watchdog is a media outlet created to provide consumers with up-to-date information about defective drugs and medical devices that could endanger their health. For more information on Clear Care contact lens solution, as well as other dangerous drugs and medical devices, please visit Public Health Watchdog today.

Parker Waichman LLP
Gary Falkowitz, Managing Attorney
(800) LAW-INFO
(800) 529-4636

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Gary Falkowitz, Managing Attorney
Parker Waichman LLP
(800) 529-4636
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