Researchers warn of disposable contact lenses
The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, October 10, 1995 - 7
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- Dispos-
able contact lenses are causing thou-
sands of serious eye infections each
year despite manufacturers' claims that
they are safer than reusable lenses, re-
searchers said yesterday.
Overnight use of contact lenses has
been known to be associated with an
increased risk of infections, the worst
of which can lead to blindness. Dispos-
able lenses were introduced with the
idea that they would reduce the oppor-
tunities for bacterial contamination,
because they wouldn't be handled as
,nuch and wouldn't be stored in solu-
tions that could harbor germs.
"That idea was simple, easy and
wrong," said Dr. H. Dwight Cavanagh,
a professor of ophthalmology at the
University of Texas Southwestern
Medical Center at Dallas.
Speaking at a seminar sponsored by
Research to Prevent Blindness, a vol-
untary organization that supports re-
search, Cavanagh said: "The implica-
"The implication now... is that these
things are safe. .. That's not true."
- Dr. H. Dwight Cavanagh
University of Texas Southwestern ophthalmolagy professor
tion now in mass marketing of dispos-
able lenses is that these things are safe
- game over, time out, totally safe.
That's not true."
Cavanagh stressed that the risk of
infections with any contact lens is small.
As many as 40 million people in the
United States wear contact lenses, but
lenses account for only about half the
27,000 corneal infections seen yearly
in the country, he said.
Nearly all American contact-lens
wearers wear soft contact lenses, and
about 4 million to 5 million Americans
wear disposable lenses, Cavanagh said.
Those who wear their lenses overnight
have a risk of eye infection 10 to 15
times that of users who insert and re-
move their lenses daily, he said.
That contradicts the belief of some
that the problem is that patients aren't
using their lenses properly, said Dr.
Oliver Schein, an ophthalmologist at
Johns Hopkins University. "If you
wear it overnight, you buy the risk,"
Tim Comstock of Bausch & Lomb,
one of the nation's largest manufactur-
ers of contact lenses, said the company
had not made any special claims for the
safety of disposable lenses other than to
say they are cleaner and fresher than
Comstock, the manager ofBausch &
Lomb's research clinic in Rochester,
N.Y., agreed that overnight use is asso-
ciated with an increased risk of infec-
Cavanagh's most recent research has
shown that the increased risk of infec-
tion occurs because extended-wear soft
contact lenses, disposable ornot, do not
allow enough oxygen to reach the sur-
face of the cornea.
That damages the surface of the cor-
nea, giving bacteria an opportunity to
invade, he said.
Experimental soft contact lenses that
allow more oxygen to penetrate to the
cornea may be available some time
next year, Cavanagh said.
Hard contact lenses already allow
more oxygen to reach the cornea, and
they are associated with a much lower
risk of eye infection, Cavanagh said.
They are less comfortable than soft
contacts, and only 10 percent to 20
percent of American contact lens-users
wear them, he said.
Continued from Page I.
Phoenix hospitals reported treating
at least 40 people, including one woman
who was listed in critical condition.
Among the hospitalized were a 3-
month-old boy and a 31-year-old
woman who was on her honeymoon.
Deputies found a one- or two-page
message signed "Sons of Gestapo" at the
scene, the sheriff said. The note referred
to the government sieges at Waco and
Ruby Ridge, the FBI and the Bureau of
Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
An electronic database search of U.S.
newspapers big and small foundnomen-
tion of a "Sons of Gestapo." A search of
about six months' worth of Internet dis
cussion groups also found nothing.
The site-27 miles east of this speck
on the map of southwestern Arizona-
is accessible only by air and by four-
wheel-drive vehicle. It took an hour for
the first rescuers to reach the victims.
Investigators from the FBI, National
Transportation Safety Board and other
federal and state agencies combed the
scene. The sheriff said the saboteurs
somehow "separated" the rail and that a
wire was attached to disable an elec-
tronic system that would have warned
the crew of a break in the line.
Investigators found that in a 19-foot
section oftrack, 29 of the spikes that hold
the rail to the wooden crossties had been
pulled out, according to an anonymous
SUNGAIPENUH, Indonesia (AP) -
drifted in and out of consciousness for
Iearly three days, too weak to call forhelp
even when he heard people digging
naexby. All he could do was pray.
Yesterday, his prayers were an-
swered. "Allah has spared me," said
Bachtiar, 37, after soldiers lifted him
from the ruins of his house.
Bachtiar's thigh was smashed, dried
blood caked his headand he was almost
too weak to speak.
He was alive, the first survivor found
in the rubble since an earthquake early
Saturday tore through this remote val-
1ey on Indonesia's Sumatra Island, kill-
ing more than 100 people and seriously
injuring nearly 700.
"I heard people digging and ham-
mering yesterday, but was too weak to
call out for help," Bachtiar, who like
many Indonesians uses only one name,
whispered to reporters before he was
taken to a hospital.
He saidhe was pinned by aroofbeam
as his wife and four children escaped
from their collapsing brick-and-wood
"I blacked out," he said. "When I
woke up, everything was piled over
me, but I could breathe easily and
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Survivors of the earthquake on the Indonesian island of Sumatra cook breakfast near the temporary makeshift tents they
made from sacks and cloth In Sungalpenuh.
Despite their elation at finding a sur-
vivor, soldiers had to suspend their
search shortly after because ofa torren-
"The area has become muddy and
slippery, making it dangerous and diffi-
cult to work," said Lt. Suhardi, the head
of the rescue team. "And there is also
the danger of landslides."
Suhardi said it made more sense to
repair power lines, set up tents for the
survivors and distribute food and
Officials, who said more than 100
people were killed in the quake, had
found 80 bodies. They draped them in
white shrouds, carted them to the edge
of town and buried them in mass graves
to prevent the spread of disease.
Doctors warned that bad sanitation
and the lack ofclean water could spread
"If this is not handled properly, we will
have diarrhea or even cholera in the next
few days," said Dr. Surya Iskandar;head
ofthe public hospital in Sungaipenuh, 10
miles from the quake's epicenter.
Since the earthquake, the city of40,000
has become arefugee camp as well as the
staging post for search and rescue opera-
tions. Doctors from Jakarta, the capital,
treat victims flown in from outlying vil-
lages in the city's two hospitals.
Iskandar said some survivors had
developed respiratory problems because
they were sleeping outside in the cold.
Hundreds of refugees camped along
roadsides and in open fields.
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Powell's military'family' embmces
former general'sjourney'on tour
tags Angeles Tunes
If Gen. Colin Powell's best-selling
book, "My American Journey," can be
said to have a theme, it is that family
provides a vital "structure, purpose and
discipline" in people's lives. In his talks
on the tour and in the book, Powell
emphasizes the importance not only of
his-own warm nuclear family, but also
of the military "family" that nurtured
That military family is showing up in
force on his national book tour. U.S.
Marine Corps Maj. Rod vonLipsey, who
had served as an aide de camp during
operation Desert Storm, stood in line
for four hours at a Southern California
"I don't think I've ever worked for
anyone who evokes the deep and abid-
ing sense of loyalty that Gen. Powell
does," vonLipsey said. "He's a great
A few minutes later, Larry Mead
stepped up to the table wearing a "Powell
for President" button. He told the gen-
eral he'd served with him in South
Korea, under Henry E. "Gunfighter"
"You remember those four-mile
runs?" Powell asked, cracking a smile.
Mead, now an Los Angeles County
sheriff's deputy with the gang enforce-
ment team, said that Powell's book cap-
tured Korea in the early '70s exactly.
Mead, who is black, said that Powell,
then a colonel, did indeed help break up
the racial antagonisms that festered on
and off the post. Some of the black GIs
called him "Bro P," and a few had less
respectful epithets, he confirmed.
"If you're African American and in
the mainstream, and successful, some
whites will view you as apushy African
American," Mead said. "Some black
people will view you as an Uncle Tom."
Mead rejects either characterization:
"You come here," he said, looking at
Powell, "and you see the American
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