a company brought a solution manufacturing plant back on line that
it previously had to shut down. It's hard to remember all the
recalls over the past few years. We've seen an eyecare company that
recently recalled some solutions, mostly internationally. We've had
another eyecare company withdraw an initially widely successful
product that then encountered numerous fungal infection issues; the
same company also recently recalled some lots of its leading
solution. Another eyecare company withdrew a successful dry eye
product because a small number of bottles were contaminated in
manufacturing. And then a major contact lens manufacturer
encountered a manufacturing issue with a leading lens product,
resulting in a recall of some lenses and a subsequent massive
backorder for that product.
our field have wondered if investors, consumers and our contact lens
patients would hear all of this and begin to abandon contact lenses.
Combine this with some not totally favorable commentary in a leading
consumer magazine and some controversy stirred up by suggestions
that refractive surgery is safer than contact lens wear, and you
have what some believe is the perfect storm to stifle contact lens
industry growth and, even worse, to deter the use of these
consumers hear about all of this and look more toward spectacles
alone or refractive surgery? Will lens wearers abandon multipurpose
disinfecting solutions because of concerns about infections and
recalls and turn instead to hydrogen peroxide in droves? I think not
on all counts. First of all, most consumers don't have time for this
type of information, and many other products are available to
substitute. I believe this series of recalls is just chance,
probability and chaos theory, if you like, catching up with us.
We've had very few contact lens recalls until the last two years. A
better question may be: why haven't we seen
more recalls with the continued growth of more complex
polymers, mass production and the diversity of the systems that are
now available? It seems that few companies are immune.
just cheerleading here; I think contact lenses have a bright future.
Allow me to again quote a couple of mentors: decades ago, whenever a
crisis arose in the contact lens industry, Neal Bailey, OD, PhD,
always told me (and I believe this is a quote from Robert Koetting,
OD, FAAO) that as long as people want to see well without glasses,
contact lenses will thrive.
add that as long as people can make a profit from safe contact
lenses, they will thrive. Contact lenses do have a threat or two out
there, and those will be future editorial topics. But I don't think
a few recalls that happen to occur over a short time period will
cause their demise.