“I thought I was going blind”


Lester Kiewit talks to Catherine Versfeld after using AOSept. Optometrist Tabitha Munsami says he should be behind the counter.

  • Catherine Versfeld says that with the recent shortage of contact lens solutions, she turned to off-the-shelf AOSept and it burned her eyes terribly. Other callers told similar stories
  • AOSept contains peroxide and should be used according to specific instructions in the accompanying lens basket, explains optometrist
  • The lenses should be left in the solution for at least 6 hours to neutralize before being put back into the eyes.
  • AOSept should be kept behind the counter in pharmacies, not on the shelf next to other contact lens solutions, says optometrist

Copyright: gvictoria / 123rf

Catherine Versfeld talks to Lester about purchasing another brand of contact lens solution due to the current shortage.

I was looking for a contact lens solution and saw that the shelves were empty. When I heard that there was a shortage, I tried to find some that were available. I had seen AOSept on the shelf next to the rest of the contact lens solutions.

Catherine Versfeld, Digital Designer – Primedia

She says she had always seen the AOSept brand on the shelves alongside other contact lens solutions, but had always been loyal to a different brand and therefore had never used it before.

I thought there is a shortage, I decided to go looking for some as a backup a few weeks ago.

Catherine Versfeld, Digital Designer – Primedia

When she finally ran out of her usual brand, she turned to the AOSept she had purchased.

I took my contact lenses out of my case, and started cleaning them to put them in my eye, and putting them in my eye I thought I was going to go blind. My eye burned so badly that I rushed into the bathroom and started rinsing my eyes.

Catherine Versfeld, Digital Designer – Primedia

She quickly rushed to her optometrist because her eye was red and still burning.

She says her eye has recovered but she hasn’t been able to use her contact lenses for a week.

My eyesight is good. It’s taken a little while now to heal so I didn’t start wearing my lenses again until Saturday.

Catherine Versfeld, Digital Designer – Primedia

I have had a bit of PTSD though … I have had flashbacks of putting this peroxide in my eye.

Catherine Versfeld, Digital Designer – Primedia

If you look at the packaging, it looks like a normal contact lens solution. it says deep cleaning for comfort that lasts …

Catherine Versfeld, Digital Designer – Primedia

Tabitha Munsami, optometrist at Specsavers, says there have been many issues reported about this.

With this shortage, many people are turning to alternative solutions, often just what’s left on the shelf.

Tabitha Munsami, optometrist – Specsavers

The problem with this is that there aren’t enough warning signs on the bottle and people don’t tend to read the directions too. There are pretty detailed instructions on what to do with it, so that’s a big deal. Perhaps something that would be desirable would be to keep it behind the counter.

Tabitha Munsami, optometrist – Specsavers

It is something that will cause burning, stinging and you can damage your eyes as well. So ideally when something like this happens, it is advisable to go directly to your optometrist.

Tabitha Munsami, optometrist – Specsavers

Munsami says instead seek advice from your optometrist on which products to use.

Because with AOSept there are so many problems that can arise.

It explains what AOSept is made of and how it should be used.

AOSept is a peroxide solution and you have to put your lenses in a specific little basket that they come in and you leave them overnight for at least 6 hours – and then that neutralizes it. So you can’t put it in your usual contact lens case.

Tabitha Munsami, optometrist – Specsavers

Users should read the fine print and follow the instructions carefully when using AOSept, Munsami says.

I really think it should be kept away from other solutions as there aren’t enough warning signs.

Tabitha Munsami, optometrist – Specsavers

Callers phoned to share similar stories on AOSept. One of them says his daughter did the same and ended up with her inner eyelid ulcerated.

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