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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Lawsuits pile up against B&L over lens solution: "
Published: December 14. 2006 3:00AM
Nation/world business
Lawsuits pile up against B&L over lens solution
Rare fungal infection leads to eye surgeries
December 14, 2006
Email this Print this BY BEN DOBBIN

Janice McConnell of Frazer, Pa., underwent an eye-saving cornea transplant operation this year after contracting a rare fugal infection in her left eye while using a contact lens solution made by Bausch & Lomb Inc. (RUSTY KENNEDY/Associated Press)The brown iris of Janice McConnell's ravaged left eye has turned pale blue. The vision in Gina Macchia's right eye, with its grossly enlarged pupil, is limited to light and shadows.
Both women underwent eye-saving, cornea-transplant surgery this year. They lost months away from their jobs, wear sunglasses to avoid stares and battle a toxic mix of anger, fatigue and frustration.
'Some days I get a little down, but I cope with it. I hang on to some hope that I'm going to see again out of that eye,' said McConnell, a job-program coordinator in Frazer, Pa.
The culprit, a fungal infection so rare that most eye doctors had never seen a case, sent a cold shiver through contact lens wearers around the world. Hundreds of people said they contracted the dangerous microbe while using a new multipurpose lens solution made by Rochester, N.Y.-based Bausch & Lomb Inc.
Consumer lawsuits against Bausch & Lomb have been piling up in U.S. courts, and the debacle could drag down the optical products company's finances for years. Lawyers now expect 500 to 700 people will seek damages for Fusarium keratitis infections in trials beginning as early as next summer."


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