CDC warns not to use these eye drops after 3 deaths, eyeball removal in 4 people

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending that people immediately stop using EzriCare or Delsam Pharma's Artificial Tears products due to possible contamination by a drug-resistant strain of bacteria linked to multiple deaths, vision loss and eyeballs being surgically removed.

Following a recall of EzriCare eyedrops last month, the CDC issued an update on March 21 about a multistate outbreak of a drug-resistant strain of the bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa that has been associated with eye infections and other infections.

EzriCare Artificial Tears (EzriCare)
EzriCare Artificial Tears (EzriCare)

The CDC and Federal Drug Administration recommended for people to stop using EzriCare and Delsam Pharma's Artifical Tears after identifying 68 patients in 16 states who were infected with the rare strain of bacteria and reported using artificial tears.

Three people have died, eight have reported vision loss, and there have been four reports of surgical removal of eyeballs, the CDC said.

Thirty-seven of the patients have been linked to four health care facility clusters, and EzriCare Artificial Tears were the only common artificial tears product identified across those clusters, the CDC said.

The 68 patients reported using more than 10 different brands of artificial tears, with EzriCare Artificial Tears being the brand most commonly reported, the CDC said. The specimens were collected from May 2022 to February 2023.

Patients advised to use EzriCare or Delsam Pharma's Artificial Tears by their healthcare provider are urged to find alternative treatment options.

Anyone who has used either of the two products and has symptoms of an eye infection is urged to seek immediate medical care. There is no recommendation by the CDC for patients who have used the products but are not experiencing any symptoms of infection.

Cases have been reported in the following states:

  • California

  • Colorado

  • Connecticut

  • Florida

  • Illinois

  • North Carolina

  • New Jersey

  • New Mexico

  • New York

  • Nevada

  • Pennsylvania

  • South Dakota

  • Texas

  • Utah

  • Washington

  • Wisconsin

Eye infection symptoms can include pain or discomfort; red eyes or eyelids; yellow, green or clear discharge from the eye; increased sensitivity to light; blurry vision and the feeling that something is in your eye.

The CDC warned in February that the EzriCare drops had been linked to 55 cases of bacterial infection in 12 states.

Global Pharma Healthcare, the India-based maker of EzriCare Artificial Tears, announced the voluntary recall on Feb. 2.

The drops are distributed by EzriCare and Delsam Pharma. EzriCare said in a statement on Feb. 1 that it “had no role in the formulation, packaging delivery system or actual manufacturing of this product.”

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