ATLANTA -- The company involved in a voluntary recall of a contact lens solution said yesterday it stands by its product and blamed improper handling of contact lenses for the eye infections that forced the product to be pulled from the shelves.
"What we're trying to handle right now . . . is what the CDC hit us with," said James Mazzo, president and chief executive officer of Santa Ana, Calif.-based Advanced Medical Optics Inc.
Government officials Friday warned people to throw away AMO Complete Moisture Plus Multi-Purpose Solution, using for cleaning and storing soft contact lenses, after an investigation linked it to a rare eye infection.
The solution seems to be a factor in cases of Acanthamoeba keratitis, a painful eye infection caused by a waterborne organism that, untreated, can lead to permanent vision loss or blindness, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
"It's not a manufacturing problem or a contamination issue," said Mazzo, who added that the infection, also called "AK," affects people who improperly handle contact lenses, such as disinfecting them with water or wearing them while swimming or showering.
"AK is something the vast majority of contact lens users typically avoid by following their eye practitioner's advice," Mazzo said.
CDC officials said they drew a link between the Advanced Medical Optics product and the infection because 58 percent of confirmed cases who wore soft contact lenses had used the solution in the month before onset of symptoms, and 39 percent had used only that solution.