Three people have died, and 68 people left blind, after using eye drops contaminated with deadly bacteria. Artificial tears manufactured by EzriCare were confirmed to be contaminated with P. aeruginosa, a disease only usually found in hospitals, causing panic across the US.
EzriCare’s Artificial Tears was recalled in January over links to eye infections. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an urgent warning at the time over the products made by India-based Global Pharma.
Testing by the agency found the drug-resistant strain of P. aeruginosa — which usually spreads in hospitals — in open bottles collected from patients. The droplets are the cause of numerous eye infections across up to 16 states - with cases dating back as far back as May 2022.
They include at least one reported fatality and several more that caused ‘permanent blindness’. The agency still does not know whether the drops were contaminated during manufacturing or after they had left the factory.
In addition to recalling the EzriCare product, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is also recalling other eye ointments in the US. They issued a recall for Delsam’s Artificial Eye Ointment in February. It was ordered due to ‘possible microbial contamination’.
The drops were being sold in stores across the country, including Walmart, Target, CVS and Amazon. They are also made by Global Pharma, based in India.
A statement on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website reads: “Use of contaminated eye ointment may cause adverse events, including infection in the eye that could lead to blindness.”