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B+L withdraws Fluorets.

CONTACT LENS giant Bausch + Lomb (B+L) has stopped producing its Fluorets product worldwide.

The company has confirmed that it took the decision to cease production on commercial grounds, and claims that regulatory and safety issues were not a part of the decision.

Trademarked by the business in 1987, B+L was the sole UK producer of fluorescein sodium ophthalmic strips.

B+L estimates that existing Fluorets stock will be depleted across the world in May.

In a statement issued by the company, it said: "This decision was made after carefully considering a variety of factors, including alternative diagnostic options, availability of raw materials and cost. It is not the result of any safety concern or product recall."

AOP professional adviser Geoff Roberson (pictured) has warned practitioners not be tempted to use unlicenced similar products, even if CE marked, until further guidance is issued.

The College of Optometrists has produced guidance which can be accessed at www.college-optometrists.org, including frequently asked questions on fluorets and minims fluorescein.

The Optical Confederation has raised concerns about the impact that ceasing production could have on running costs for optical practices.

Mr Roberson added: "The Optical Confederation, the College, the BCLA and others are looking for viable alternative products as a matter of urgency, but this is far from easy given the rigid interpretation of fluorescein as a medicine requiring licensing by the MHRA."

B+L will continue to produce minims fluorescein sodium 1% and 2% eye drop solutions, and has agreed to work in partnership with the Optical Confederation to ensure adequate supplies are available.

Consultant optometrist and head of optometry at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, David Sculfor, told OT: "Every optometrist who does contact lens work uses Fluorets. Minims flourescein really isn't a suitable alternative as it tends to flood the eye. Fluorescein only fluoresces below a certain concentration, and with a Minim it is very difficult to instill just the tiny amount needed."

Emily McCormick

emilymccormick@optometry.co.uk

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Author:McCormick, Emily
Publication:Optometry Today
Date:Apr 5, 2013
Words:328
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