According to Statista, an online platform specializing in market and consumer data, approximately 117.45 million Americans used eye drops to relieve redness, discomfort, or dry eyes in 2020. That number is expected to increase to 123.35 million by 2024.
The fact that so many people routinely use over-the-counter (OTC) eye drops makes the recent recall of artificial tears eye drops especially concerning.
Why Were EzriCare Artificial Tears Eye Drops Recalled?
In February 2023, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), along with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reported that a rare strain of bacteria known as Pseudomonas aeruginosa had been discovered in EzriCare Artificial Tears Eye Drops. That particular bacterial strain is drug resistant and had never been reported in the U.S.
The organizations identified 68 patients in 16 states with infections caused by the bacteria – including infections of the cornea, bloodstream, respiratory and urinary tract. Even more alarming were eight reported cases of vision loss, four reports of surgical removal of eyeballs, and as of March 23, 2023, three deaths.
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What Are the Symptoms of Serious Eye Infections?
Serious eye infections should be treated promptly. Without proper medical treatment, they can result in permanent damage to visual health and even loss of eyesight. Symptoms of serious eye infections include:
- A yellow, green, or clear discharge from the eye
- Eye pain or discomfort
- Eyes or eyelids that are red
- A feeling of foreign matter in the eye
- Increased sensitivity to light
- Blurry vision
What Brand of Eye Drops Are Being Recalled?
The brand of eye drops currently being recalled is Global Pharma Healthcare’s Artificial Tears Lubricant Eye Drops which are distributed by EzriCare and Delsam Pharma. This particular brand is the one the CDC identified in infected patients.
Additionally, due to concerns over bacterial contamination, the FDA recommended that the company also recall Delsam Pharma’s Artificial Eye Ointment. The company voluntarily recalled these products in February 2023.
The FDA states that the cause of contamination is the result of manufacturing violations, including the lack of appropriate microbial testing and multiuse bottle packaging lacking adequate preservatives.
What Should I Do if I’ve Used or Been Injured by the Recalled Eye Drops?
If you or someone you know is using EzriCare Artificial Tears Lubricant Eye Drops or Delsam Pharma’s Artificial Eye Ointment, you should discontinue use immediately. In addition, if you feel you are exhibiting signs of a serious eye infection, consult your physician as soon as possible.
If you have been injured by the artificial tears eye drops, you may be entitled to compensation.