Warning to all who use Opti-Free REPLENISH lens solution
I want to put out a warning call to all who wear contact lenses AND have sensitive skin. I had a bad allergic reaction to Alcon's Opti-Free REPLENISH solution. It took a couple months before I figured out what was causing this horrible rash/eczema around my eyes.
At first I tried to treat it myself with OTC hydrocortisone and antihistamines. No success there so I went to a doctor who wrote up a script for other antihistamines. A Dermatologist was called in to look at my eyes. She gave me an Rx for Desonide. By now the swelling, redness, and itching was out of control and it was spreading...beyond my eyes, upwards into my forehead and down to my cheekbones. When that medicine failed I went to an Allergist and he gave me yet another ointment which didn't work. He told me the only thing left was Prednisone. It wasn't until I removed my lenses one day that I noticed the swelling was subsiding. So I went to the medicine cabinet and looked at the bottle of lens solution. On the back there it was as one of the ingredients: Preservative. Also in tiny print were the words, "if you are allergic to any of these ingredients do not use this product".
The problem is how to know you are allergic to this solution if it doesn't show up right away or affect the eyes as you might expect. I had no symptoms of burning or stinging eyes. I'm prone to eczema so I had no reason to suspect anything other than this being another flair-up of eczema which doesn't happen very often (maybe once a year) but it does happen, and always minor (usually remedied within a couple days with some hydrocortisone).
None of the doctors I saw associated my skin problems with a lens cleaner either. That's what makes this product so dangerous, you can suffer for a long time before the connection is made that the solution you clean your lens with is affecting the skin on your face.
If you are experiencing itchy skin in the region of your eyes and you use this product I strongly recommend you stop immediately and switch to a different lens solution.