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Update: Contaminated Eye Drops Lead to Another Death, More Cases of Vision Loss

Update: Contaminated Eye Drops Lead to Another Death, More Cases of Vision Loss

May 22, 2023

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has provided an update on the ongoing situation involving infections caused by contaminated eye drops. According to the latest report, there has been one more death and an additional six cases of vision loss attributed to these infections.

To date, the total number of reported cases includes four deaths and 14 instances of vision loss. These incidents are part of a larger group of over 80 infections caused by a rare strain of drug-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa. This particular strain had not previously been detected in the United States before this outbreak occurred.

Additionally, the CDC has documented four cases where individuals had to undergo surgical removal of their eyeballs due to the severity of the infections.

According to the CDC, patients used various brands of eye drops with EzriCare Artificial Tears being the most commonly used one. In February, Global Pharma Healthcare's Artificial Tears Lubricant Eye Drops, which were distributed by EzriCare and Delsam Pharma, were recalled.

The CDC has identified an additional 13 patients from two more states, bringing the total number of patients to 81 across 18 states.

Out of the newly identified patients, seven had specimens collected subsequent to the recalls of the eye products. Among these seven patients, the majority reported either using the recalled eye drops or residing in long-term care facilities where other cases of the bacterial infection were observed.

Both the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have issued a joint advisory, urging consumers to discontinue the use of the recalled products.

“Patients who have used EzriCare or Delsam Pharma’s artificial tears and who have signs or symptoms of an eye infection should seek medical care immediately,” the CDC said.

Signs and Symptoms of Pseudomonas Aeruginosa

Symptoms of the infection caused by the contaminated eye drops can manifest in various ways. These symptoms include the presence of yellow, green, or clear discharge from the eye, eye pain or discomfort, redness of the eye or eyelid, a sensation of foreign object presence in the eye, increased sensitivity to light, and blurry vision.

The CDC further explains that Pseudomonas aeruginosa, the drug-resistant bacteria responsible for these infections, has the potential to spread between individuals even in the absence of symptoms. Additionally, it can also spread to individuals who have not used the affected eye drops. This mode of transmission is particularly common in healthcare settings.