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Hubble Contacts Faces Lawsuit Over Vision Loss Claims

Hubble Contacts Faces Lawsuit Over Vision Loss Claims

July 06, 2023

Stephanie Guarisco, a woman from New Mexico, has filed a lawsuit against Hubble Contacts, alleging that the company's contact lenses resulted in the "total loss" of her right eye. According to the lawsuit, Guarisco underwent a complete removal of her right eye and now uses a permanent prosthetic in her eye socket.

The suit further states that she continues to receive treatment for issues with her left eye. Guarisco's attorney, Josh Harris, expressed that his client has experienced immense pain throughout the process and hopes that the lawsuit will provide some form of compensation to help her navigate life under these circumstances.

Hubble Contacts has faced criticism from federal and state authorities for allegedly misleading customers by substituting their own lenses, made with outdated materials, instead of the lenses prescribed by doctors. Guarisco's lawsuit marks the first known case where a Hubble customer claims to have lost an eye due to using their lenses. Samuel Levine, director of the Federal Trade Commission's Bureau of Consumer Protection, expressed concerns about Hubble's business model, stating that it created unnecessary risks to customers' eye health.

The lawsuit states that Guarisco initially ordered lenses from Hubble in January 2020 and wore them several times over the following months. However, she experienced severe pain in her left eye and sought medical attention, leading to a diagnosis of a corneal ulcer associated with the contact lens. Guarisco's condition worsened, and she received additional diagnoses and underwent multiple surgeries to address various complications in her left eye.

In February 2021, she received a corneal transplant, which was ultimately rejected. Guarisco underwent a second corneal transplant in March 2021, followed by another surgery in April 2021. Unfortunately, her condition deteriorated, and on September 17, 2021, doctors had to enucleate her right eye and replace it with a prosthesis. It is unclear from the lawsuit whether Guarisco was wearing lenses, glasses, or a combination of both during this period.

The lawsuit highlights Guarisco's lack of awareness regarding the potential hazards to her health and eyesight while using Hubble's contact lenses. Guarisco continues to experience problems with her left eye, as noted in the lawsuit.

Hubble provided a statement to The Daily Beast: “The health and safety of our customers is our number one priority. We take the allegations in the complaint seriously, as we do with all customer complaints. We were saddened to hear about this occurrence and were unaware of the customer’s claims until we received the lawsuit. 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.”

According to Guarisco's suit, Hubble lenses were deemed "unsafe, defective, and inherently dangerous." The lawsuit alleges that the company did not verify prescriptions and instead shipped their own "one size fits all" lenses to customers. Furthermore, when Hubble did contact the prescriber, they allegedly sent flawed and incomprehensible verification messages, making it challenging for prescribers to understand and respond appropriately. If no response was received within eight business hours, Hubble treated the order as verified and sent the requested contact lenses to consumers.

Passive verification, where a prescription can be filled if a doctor does not respond within eight hours, is legally permissible under the Federal Trade Commission's Contact Lens Rule. However, the lawsuit claims that Hubble intentionally made their verification queries difficult to understand, garbling voicemails or using wording that created confusion. The lawsuit also states that Hubble's agents sometimes left verification messages at phone numbers that were clearly not affiliated with eye care practitioners or doctor's offices.

Guarisco's lawsuit mentions that she will require further surgeries to alleviate her suffering and restore sight in her left eye.

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