Firefighter Adam DiSarro Says Recalled Contaminated Eye Drops Caused Blindness in One Eye

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The firefighter from Naples, Florida has been out of work for five months after using EzriCare Artificial Tears

CBS Evening News
CBS Evening News

Florida firefighter Adam DiSarro says he has been blinded in one eye by contaminated eye drops and is suing the manufacturer, along with Amazon for selling the product, due to "negligence," per reports.

The Naples resident, who says he has been out of work for five months, spoke with CBS News about suddenly losing vision in his left eye last fall just a few hours after using EzriCare Artificial Tears, Di Sarro alleged.

"The redness came on, the irritation came on, a lot of itching, and it was abnormal," DiSarro told CBS. "It just progressively got worse," he added, "to the point a I couldn't even see within a few hours."

When antibiotics given to DiSarro didn't work, he said that doctors feared he could lose his eye.

"That was hard and is still hard because I'm still not at work — going on five months," said DiSarro, who still hopes that surgery can restore his vision.

PEOPLE reached out to DiSarro and EzriCare's manufacturer, Global Pharma Healthcare Private Limited, for comment.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has backed up the contaminated outbreak due to numerous incidents, including three deaths.

Related:Deaths, Blindness Linked to Recalled Eye Drops Contaminated with Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

CBS Evening News
CBS Evening News

The CDC has warned against using EzriCare and Delsam Pharma artificial tears, which have since been recalled in February due to the outbreak of drug-resistant bacteria pseudomonas aeruginosa. On March 14, the CDC provided an update on their investigation.

According to their findings, 68 individuals in 16 states who used the contaminated eye drops were infected with bacteria. Along with the death of three individuals, eight individuals have gone blind, and four additional individuals have needed the surgical removal of an eyeball.

"Recent epidemiology and laboratory evidence link these infections to use of EzriCare Artificial Tears," the CDC stated, identifying cases in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin.

Pseudomonas aeruginosa, explains the CDC, can cause infections in the blood, lungs (pneumonia), and other parts of the body after surgery.

Related:Select Jergens Moisturizers Recalled Due to Potential Bacteria Contamination

The CDC said they expect more cases to emerge, due to the time it takes to test samples from patients for a match to the specific strain, which has never been discovered in the United States prior to this outbreak, the agency said. While contamination cases are rare, the CDC reports that the bacteria caused an estimated 32,600 infections among hospitalized patients and 2,700 estimated deaths in 2017.

According to the CDC, people with symptoms of an eye infection, including blurry vision, increased sensitivity to light, redness in the eye or eyelid, yellow, green or clear discharge from the eye, or general eye pain or discomfort, should immediately seek medical care.

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For those potentially affected by the contaminated eyedrops, the CDC instructed:

Please reach out to your health department's healthcare‐associated infections contact or for assistance."

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