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Boots Optician Contact lenses caused eye problems

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Hi all,


Hope this is the right place for this. My partner recently picked up some weekly contact lenses from Boots. she wears them frequently, but her normal order had not arrived so she had to pick up a pair to tide her over from the store. almost immediately after she put them in, her vision began to go blurry and her eye felt discomfort. The Boots staff at the store were awful. first they wanted her to wait to see the optometrist, until she made a fuss, when it turned out one was free, then she had to ask three times for them to rinse her eye. Finally they sent her to Moorfield eye hospital, but didn't send anyone with her. She spent several hours in the Moorfields A&E, where the staff were shocked that her eye hadn't been rinsed sooner and more extensively. By this point she was in agony too. So the upshot was she had blurry vision and severe pain for a few days, had to spend the evening at Moorfield's A&E and had to take a hotel for 2 nights as her vision was too poor to take the train home.


To be fair, after first saying they would only reimburse her taxi costs, boots did reimburse the hotel and medication costs too.


Now, the problem is, after doing some research, we found that these lenses, made for Boots by Coopervision, had a similar issue a few years ago, where they were contaminated with silicon oil, causing horrific injuries for some people and leading to a recall. As my partner put the lenses in in the shop, she didn't keep the cases for them and allegedly neither did the shop, which seems like it ought to be included in some sort of protocol. Anyway, the reason we're here is 1.) Has anyone heard of, or is there somewhere that might know, if there are other recent cases like this? Our primary concern is that no one else suffers due to Boots' inadequate response. 2.) My partner isn't sure if she still has the lenses, but if she does they are in a fresh contact lens holder with fresh saline solution. I appreciate this would have diluted any contaminate, but is it possible, if she can find them, to have the lenses tested, perhaps with a Mass spectrometer, to see what the contaminant was? 3.) this si the most minor concern, but should we and could we seek any compensation from boots? We've accepted reimbursment for our out of pocket expenses - the taxi, hotel and medication, but all of our communication was without prejudice and we stressed that we weren't accepting this in full and final settlement. I know the impact didn't last very long, but she was in agony, terrified of losing her vision, had to spend the evening in Moorfields and was supposed to be chaperoning me following a medical procedure I had had earlier that day that involved sedation. And now, as someone who wears contacts frequently, she is very nervous about wearing new pairs.


Thanks for your help

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Hello there, I'm sorry to hear about the problems you've had.


I can't comment on the legal side of what you're asking, but I can tell you a story.


My husband used to wear contact lenses because he didn't want to wear glasses. Call it pride. One Monday morning, he found he couldn't open his eyes. We were both very worried and I ended up taking time off work to take him to the hospital's eye clinic as an emergency, with me acting as guide dog.


We were lucky enough to see a consultant fairly quickly and they sprayed a local anaesthetic onto OH's eyelids. This enabled him to open his eyes for a few minutes, so we knew that he could still see. The consultant said that the lenses had scratched his eyes, I think it was, and that his eyelids had clamped shut in self defence. He said that time would heal this, but that he saw a lot of eye damage from contacts. The thing that sticks in my mind is that he said 'Look at me, I'm a specialist and I wear glasses, not contacts.'


OH had to take the week off work to rest and was finally able to open his eyes on the Friday. After that, he decided that he valued his sight more than his vanity and he hasn't worn contacts since.


I hope your partner gets sorted soon.



Illegitimi non carborundum




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Thanks for the kind words. It is vanity, but as a glasses wearer, I know that they can be a pain in the butt too. Rain on the lenses, trying to watch a movie on my iPad in bed or a whole host of other things. Laser surgery one day I think

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I wear contact lenses and have done for a long time. Very occasionally you get a problem. I had a small foreign body get under a contact lens and it got stuck. Doctor could not wash it out, so local eye hospital had to remove it.


Coopervision do make a lot of the optician own brand lenses. From memory they had to withdraw some lenses about 6 years ago due to some issue.


In terms of the legal situation, it is a bit tricky. You have to prove that there was an issue with the lens provided and it is was not any other contamination that took place. I have doubts that Boots or Coopervision will help you provide evidence, so you can claim against them. The contact lens patient is entitled to a copy of their records and can make a request, but whether they would help i am not sure.


If you made a complaint to the relevant professional body that Boots opticians are signed up to, they can make enquiries and that might be the best way forward.


You don't have the contact lens containers they came in, only the lenses in a case in saline. I am not sure how these can be tested for what contaminates exist. If you made a complaint, would Boots have to get them sent of for laboratory tests, due to health concerns raised.


From Boots website

Private customer: If you are not happy with our response, please let us know. If you prefer, you can write to the Optical Consumer Complaints Service at 2-8 Market Square ,Bishops Stortford, Hertsforshire, CM23 3UZ or call them on 01279 712584

Read more at http://www.boots.com/en/Opticians/Opticians-Information-Advice/Opticians-FAQ/#pBd6bJxRH21EhkmH.99

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Thanks for your reply. I share your doubts with regards to how much Boots or Coopervision will help testing the lens. In fact, I suspect they might either go missing or turn up as being uncontaminated no matter what.


Our biggest concerns,. far more than any compensation is that no one else has a problem from contaminated lenses and, if they do, they receive better first aid from the opticians.


My partner picked the lenses up from boots, washed her hands and put the contacts in at the store. then immediately returned to their care, moments later, when the problem started but she was totally let down. When she started to remove the lenses, the man with her, who didn't help but who it turned out is the senior optician at the branch, told her not to. Who knows what would have happened if she'd left them in for the time it took to be seen by one of the opticians? And when she did see the optician they totally failed at basic first aid.


Anyway, thanks again for your comments and the link

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