Large numbers of people have suffered painful injuries after improperly using Clear Care solution to clean their contact lenses. Clear Care, made by Ciba Vision a Novartis subsidiary, contains 3 percent hydrogen peroxide and requires a special lens holder that neutralizes the cleaning agent over a six-hour period.

But the Institute for Safe Medication Practices in Horsham, Pa. has received reports from people who didn't realize that the lens cleaning product required the special equipment and as a result burned their eyes. In fact, three contact lens wearers who work at the institute, which is nationally recognized for its work on medication safety, have suffered injuries from mistakenly using Clear Care without the special lens case.

One woman reported to the institute that she had been at a friend's house when she saw a bottle of contact lens solution in the bathroom. She put her contacts in her flat case and added the Clear Care solution, which has a picture of a contact on its label.

"The next morning, the woman put one of the contacts in her right eye and experienced excruciating pain and burning," the institute reported on its website. In addition, "her eye clenched shut, delaying removal of the contact lens."

The institute said the Food and Drug Administration has received hundreds of similar complaints.

The nonprofit organization urged the makers of lens solutions that contain hydrogen peroxide and the FDA to clearly mark their products with warnings that explicitly state the danger. "Warnings should be printed in their entirety on the products front panel near the product name, as well as in other locations so it can be seen no matter how the product is oriented."

Another problem, however, could be that the user has removed their contacts and can't read the warnings, so the institute cautioned people who wear contacts to be wary of what solution they use to clean their lenses and remember to read the label carefully before using any unfamiliar product.