Neutrogena has recalled its light therapy masks intended to treat acne that pose the risk of causing retinal damage or even loss of vision. According to a report in The New York Times, over the last year or so, these products have streamed into the market and onto Instagram with photos of famous people wearing these masks. Neutrogena marketed the product that uses LED light kill acne bacteria and fight inflammation. The masks were sold for between $30 to $40, making it one of the more affordable masks on the market.
Neutrogena recalled its masks saying they could cause “eye injuries” to a group of people who had underlying eye conditions or were taking medications that made them sensitive to light. However, the company did not say how many people had been injured after using these masks. But, the Australian Department of Health issued a much more informative alert.
Potential for Serious Eye Injuries
According to the department’s alert, individuals vulnerable to serious eye injuries include those with certain eye disorders such as retinitis pigmentosa, ocular albinism and other congenital retinal disorders. Officials said in these people, repeated use of the mask could cause varying degrees of retinal damage that could be irreversible and could accelerate peripheral vision impairment or loss.
Other potential side effects linked to using these devices include eye pain, eye discomfort, eye irritation, tearing, blinding, blurred vision, seeing spots/flashes or other vision changes. Australia’s notice advised all consumers, not just those with the underlying eye conditions, to stop using the mask. A spokeswoman for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) told the Times that the agency is aware of the recall and is looking into it.
The mask was put on the market by Neutrogena in October 2016. It was endorsed on Instagram by celebrities like actress Lena Dunham. On social media other celebrities including Kate Hudson, Jessica Alba, Kourtney Kardashian and Emma Stone shared photos of them wearing the mask. Experts say Neutrogena’s mask simply did not offer enough eye protection and should be used with the right eyewear protection. Doctors recommend opaque goggles such as those used in tanning booths. They urge consumers to avoid any eyewear that would allow light to penetrate.
Product Liability Issues
Manufacturers have a responsibility to ensure that their products are safe for consumers to use. When they fail to do so and fail to warn consumers about the risks posed by their products, affected individuals can seek compensation for the injuries, damages and losses sustained. An experienced product defect attorney will be able to advise injured victims regarding their legal rights and options.