Woman sues Hubble Contacts after she loses an eye
A New Mexico woman alleges in a lawsuit that she had to have an eye removed because contact lenses sold by Hubble Contacts were defective.
Stephanie Guarisco of Clovis claims she experienced severe pain and injury after using the lenses for only a few weeks, eventually leading to the loss of her right eye. She is suing Hubble's parent company, Vision Path, for negligence, consumer fraud and other counts.
"Hubble contact lenses were unsafe, defective, and inherently dangerous in that the contact lenses were subject to a high rate of eye infections and corneal damage during normal and customary use," the complaint alleges.
Guarisco bought Hubble contact lenses through the direct-to-consumer business' website in early 2020, according to the suit, which was filed June 30 in New York State Supreme Court. She wore the daily lenses until late July of that same year. Weeks later, severe pain in her left eye required her to visit a hospital emergency room, and an optometrist subsequently diagnosed Guarisco with an inflamed iris condition called iridocyclitis, the suit claims.
She was later diagnosed with a corneal ulcer of the left eye, according to court documents. But Guarisco's eye issues worsened, and she was forced to visit the ER for allergy-like symptoms in her right eye, including "discharge, redness, itching and visual disturbances," the lawsuit states. After being diagnosed with corneal ulcer of the right eye, she reported decreased vision in her right eye.
Guarisco underwent several surgeries trying to repair the ulcer but those procedures were unsuccessful, according to the suit, which states "she now has a permanent prosthetic placed in her right eye socket."
Guarisco claims she lost her vision because Hubble contact lenses are made in Taiwan using Methafilcon A, a silicone-based polymer. Many optometrists say the material is inappropriate for making contact lenses because it doesn't provide enough oxygen to the eye.
While Hubble's contact lenses are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, methafilcon A is an inferior material "no longer prescribed for contact lenses in the United States," according to the lawsuit.
The complaint also accuses Vision Path of not following the proper procedures for verifying customer prescriptions and paying customers for positive reviews of the lenses on its website.
Vision Path didn't respond to a request for comment. In a statement to the Daily Beast, Vision Path said it is taking the lawsuit's allegations seriously.
"We were saddened to hear about this occurrence and were unaware of the customer's claims until we received the lawsuit," the company said. "We began our investigation immediately following. Given the early stages of the case, we are unable to further comment on the specifics of the allegations or the results of our internal investigation."
Founded in 2016, Vision Path sells its Hubble branded contact lenses online through a mail-order subscription model. "Every set of lenses passes a multi-layer inspection that's super tight and refreshingly thorough," the company says on its website.
Guarisco's lawsuit isn't Hubble's first round of legal troubles.
Vision Path paid $3.5 million in a settlement to the Federal Trade Commission in January 2022 for, among other things, failing to get proper optometrist prescriptions for customers' contact lenses. The FTC's Contact Lens Rule requires contact lens sellers either to obtain a copy of the consumer's prescription or verify the patient's prescription information with their vision care provider.
The settlement was the largest ever paid by a company for violating U.S. contact lens rules, federal regulators said at the time.
Vision Path also paid nearly $375,000 in a settlement in Texas last June for what the state's attorney general office called deceptive marketing.
Khristopher J. Brooks is a reporter for CBS MoneyWatch covering business, consumer and financial stories that range from economic inequality and housing issues to bankruptcies and the business of sports.