Vision Loss Lawsuit Filed Over Cosmetic Contact Lenses

A Texas woman indicates that she suffered permanent vision loss from cosmetic contact lenses purchased at a flea market booth, which allegedly caused her to suffer a bacterial infection that left her blind. 

Liza Garcia filed a lawsuit last week against Orion Vision Group, Inc., the One Stop Contact Lenses Booth, and the National Flea Market in Lubbock, among others, indicating that she was illegally sold colored contact lenses that caused the eye infection and her subsequent vision loss.

Garcia wore the contact lenses for three days, but then began suffering burning and swelling of the eyes, according to a report by The Dallas Morning News. She went to an emergency room where she was diagnosed with a bacterial infection, which caused Garcia to suffer scar tissue and ulcers on her eyes, leaving her blind unless a future corneal transplant generates results.

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The lawsuit notes that it was illegal for the booth to sell the contact lenses without a prescription, according to FDA regulations, but Garcia was unaware of that when she purchased the lenses in February 2016. In addition, the lawsuit claims that the lenses were defective, leading to the eye infection.

In August 2016, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a report indicating that about 20% of reported contact lens infection results in severe and permanent eye damage.

Nearly 1,100 eye infections caused by contact lenses were reported to the FDA’s Medical Device Report Database between 2005 and 2015 contained the term “ulcer” or “keratitis,” which is a serious inflammation of the cornea.

One in five of the patients described serious side effects such as central corneal scarring, a decrease in visual acuity, or requiring a corneal transplant after becoming infected.

The FDA recently updated contact lens safety recommendations, after many cases of injuries and eye infections from contact lenses were reported. They warn consumers to only use the products exactly as recommended by manufacturers.

The FDA issued a safety warning about decorative contact lenses in 2011. The alert warned consumers to choose contact lenses carefully and only purchase them from doctors with a valid prescription. Many Americans purchase decorative lenses as a cosmetic enhancement or to accent a costume, but the FDA warned those types of lenses can cause serious eye damage, even vision loss. The most common pathogens included Pseudomonas, Acanthamoeba, Fusarium, and Staphylococcus.

About two percent of patients indicated they purchased the contact lenses without a prescription from an approved doctor. Many said they received them from a flea market or costume shop.

2 Comments

  • JoeJanuary 29, 2023 at 6:41 pm

    Contacts cause severe infection and fungus now I am blind from right eye.

  • LauraMay 17, 2020 at 8:01 pm

    I know this was a while ago, but I would like to know the outcome of this law suit and what Orion's defense was. If this person wore the contacts for 3 days continuously, she should have no basis to a suit as contacts are only to be worn for 4-6 hours at a time. Just curious as to the outcome.

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