13 Spaniards blinded after eye surgeries

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THIRTEEN Spaniards have lost sight in one eye and 28 other patients suffered injuries due to a faulty substance used in eye surgeries, health authorities said October 31.

In a statement issued by the Government medical agency AEMPS, it said that they are “aware of 41 cases of people affected by usage of the surgical product Ala Octa, which was recalled by the Spanish health ministry in June and is suspected of causing loss of vision in several people.”

The agency confirmed that 13 patients have completely been blinded in one eye after operations in which Ala Octa was used. A German company, Alamedics, makes the substance used in eye operations.

A total of 41 cases were reported at 11 Spanish health facilities, particularly in the Basque region near the French border, in addition, another case has been reported in Italy.

Damage to retinal tissue, the optic nerve, inflammations and loss of sharpness of vision are some of the other complications cause by the compound.

Christian Lingenfelder of Alamadeics said: “Sales have been stopped until the circumstances can be completely clarified.” 

Mikel Gonzalez, who had eye surgery at a public hospital in San Sebastian on June 2 was blinded in his left eye, and hoped for compensation. “A month and a half (after the surgery), they told me that it was a bad product that had made me blind in one eye,” said Mr Gonzalez.

“At least the health authorities have recognised the case. I hope they will compensate us,” he added.

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