Hands holding a letter that says "RECALL".

Drug-Resistant Bacteria Causes Eye Drop Recalls

In March 2023, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a widespread recall of EzriCare artificial tears. Bacteria has been found in the product. The bacteria has caused many cases of eye infections, vision problems, blindness, eyeball removal, and even death across the United States.1,2

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and FDA started an investigation. They confirmed that the over-the-counter (OTC) eye drops, imported from India, were contaminated. The eye drops contain a highly drug-resistant strain of bacteria called Pseudomonas aeruginosa.1,2

This bacteria is very contagious. It can be spread from person to person. It is also extremely hard to get rid of. In extreme cases, the infection can spread to the bloodstream. It can even cause death.1,2

To control the spread of infection, the FDA stopped the import of the eye drops. Retailers were instructed to remove EzriCare artificial tears from store shelves. The company that makes the eye drops is Global Pharma Healthcare. The company voluntarily recalled another of its products, Delsam Pharma artificial eye ointment.1,2

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What is drug-resistant bacteria?

Drug-resistant bacteria is bacteria that antibiotics have a hard time treating. Antibiotics are drugs used to treat and heal infections in the body.2

Infections caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa are somewhat common in hospitals. But the strain discovered in EzriCare artificial tears has never been reported in the United States prior to this outbreak. And this strain is highly resistant to antibiotics. This is very concerning because if an eye infection cannot be healed, it can have devastating effects.1,2

What are the symptoms of a bacterial eye infection?

Symptoms of a bacterial eye infection may include:1

  • Discharge from the eye that is yellow, green, or clear
  • Eye pain or discomfort
  • Redness of the eyeball or eyelid
  • A feeling like there is something in the eye
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Blurred vision

If you have any of the above symptoms, seek medical attention.

Practice extreme caution

If you have either EzriCare artificial tears or Delsam Pharma artificial eye ointment, do not use them. If your doctor told you to use either of these eye drops, ask them for another option. If you have used either product and have symptoms of an eye infection, seek medical attention immediately.1

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