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ISMP Canada Warns of the Potential for Eye Injuries With Clear Care Contact Lens Cleaning Solution

TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 03/31/14 -- ISMP Canada is warning consumers and vendors of contact lens solutions of the potential for painful eye injuries if Clear Care contact lens cleaning solution is not used as directed. ISMP Canada's consumer medication incident program, SafeMedicationUse.ca, continues to receive reports from consumers who experienced severe pain and burning in the eyes after confusing Clear Care with a regular contact lens solution.

Unlike most other contact lens cleaning solutions, Clear Care contains 3% hydrogen peroxide, which can cause pain and burning if used directly in the eyes. For this reason, Clear Care solution should not be used directly in the eye or as a rinsing solution for lenses. Instead, it must be used only with a special lens case that neutralizes the hydrogen peroxide after a specific soaking time. Unfortunately, consumers have reported experiencing pain and burning in the eyes after improperly selecting and using Clear Care, believing it to be a typical multi-purpose contact lens cleaning and soaking solution.

In April 2013, a Health Canada advisory noted that manufacturers of contact lens solutions containing 3% hydrogen peroxide had been asked to update the labels of Canadian products to highlight the risks of improper use. Since then, warnings have been added to the outer and inner labels of the Clear Care product. However, ISMP Canada has received a report about an incident that occurred despite the new labelling. The consumer who reported the incident suffered severe pain due to a corneal burn.

"Too many consumers have suffered from corneal burns because they did not realize that this solution is different," says David U, President and CEO of ISMP Canada. "The Clear Care package and bottle resemble those of typical multi-purpose solutions, but Clear Care contains hydrogen peroxide, which is harmful if it comes in contact with the eye."

ISMP Canada had already published two SafeMedicationUse.ca alerts warning consumers about this issue, in 2010 and 2012. In addition, an alert for health professionals was published in a 2013 issue of the ISMP Canada Safety Bulletin. ISMP Canada has now issued a third alert reminding consumers not to assume that all contact lens solutions are the same and to follow product instructions carefully. The alert also provides tips for vendors of contact lens solutions, including a suggestion that contact lens solutions containing hydrogen peroxide not be stored beside multi-purpose solutions.

The manufacturer and Health Canada have been informed of the reported incidents.

About the Institute for Safe Medication Practices Canada (ISMP Canada)

The Institute for Safe Medication Practices Canada is an independent national not-for-profit organization committed to the advancement of medication safety in all healthcare settings. ISMP Canada is key partner in the Canadian Medication Incident Reporting and Prevention System (CMIRPS), a program funded by Health Canada. ISMP Canada's mandate includes analyzing medication incidents, making recommendations for the prevention of harmful medication incidents, and facilitating quality improvement initiatives. ISMP Canada works collaboratively with the healthcare community, regulatory agencies and policy makers, provincial, national and international patient safety organizations, the pharmaceutical industry, and the public to promote safe medication practices.

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