Every single day Donna Ponder watches her daughters dreams, her hopes fade away right in front of her eyes. Well it makes everything I do very difficult, if you can imagine closing one eye and driving down the street, or doing your work with one eye, it makes everything harder. Everything is more complicated. Donna is blind in her left eye, but she wasn't always like this. Her vision started to disappear just a few months ago. There is a lot of tearing, the eyes started becoming red, and I went to my regular doctor, my optomologist, and he thought I had some type of eye infection. Which was treated, but it got worse. Within days the pain started.
It felt like needles stabbing the back of your eye. Within weeks her vision was gone. Donna is one of the 35 million people across the country that wears contact lenses.
80% of that number use what are called soft lenses, and just like someone who uses soft lenses must clean them with a special solution that will disinfect the lens and protect the eye from bacteria. Donna says it is that cleaning process which robbed her of her sight. Well I was using the AMO solution to cleanse my contact lens, and I felt like that was the only thing different that I was doing.
I had been a contact lens user for 15 years, and I never had any problems. She says she started using the AMO no rub solution made by Alergen not less than 6 months before her problem surfaced. In that time the contact lens disinfectant was taken off the market. We have now determined that the company really lulled the customers in a sense that this one step solution would take care of all of the problems, and was easy to use. When in fact it was not effective in disinfecting the contact lens. Attorney Bob Spohrer of Spohrer & Dodd says a rare eye infection popping up in hundreds of people across the country was behind the massive recall. The center for disease control have linked this epidemic of acanthameba infections to patients who use the AMO complete solution.
Spohrer says the infection must be treated aggressively and quickly if not the cornea can be damaged, or like Donna, their vision can be lost. This is a ring of acanthameba. Doctor Saul Weinstien an emergency room physician and medical expert for Spohrer & Dodd says the acanthameba infection is commonly misdiagnosed. Symptoms range from pain, to watery discharge, the eye can also be sensitive to light.
There are also nonspecific symptoms of a number of other eye conditions, and hence the reason why there is a delay in obtaining the proper diagnosis, and instituting proper treatment. If you experience any of the symptoms you should see your eye doctor immediately. There may be thousands of people out there who still have this solution up on the shelf in their bathroom, they may be using it, they may purchase it online. There is still a great potential out there for further harm to be done.
As for Donna the damage is already done. She has had one corneal transplant, which failed, but the fight continues to save not only her eye, but also the sight of many others. I think that people need to be more aware, I think the CDC and the FDA need to regulate more about what can protect consumers about what goes into the eye.
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