Older adults who use a particular brand of artificial tears should stop immediately, the Centers for Disease Control recently advised after recent reports linked the product to permanent vision loss and even death.
EzriCare Artificial Tears recently infected 55 people across 12 states (California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Nevada, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin) with a drug-resistant strain of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a bacterium that can attack the body in a number of ways.
In this case, users have experienced permanent vision loss from a cornea infection and even death due to systemic infection. Bacteria linked to EzriCare created symptoms of urinary tract infections, respiratory infections, sepsis and more.
Global Pharma Healthcare, the drug manufacturer, officially recalled the artificial tears lubricant eye drops on Feb. 1. The Food and Drug Administration, which encouraged the recall, pointed to a “lack of appropriate microbial testing, formulation issues (the company manufactures and distributes ophthalmic drugs in multi-use bottles, without an adequate preservative), and lack of proper controls concerning tamper-evident packaging,” as potential causes of the outbreak in a recent safety warning.
“We have been contacting customers to advise them against continued use of the product,” EzriCare said in a press release. “We also immediately reached out to both CDC and FDA and indicated our willingness to cooperate with any requests they may have of us. [We] recommend that during this evolving situation you DISCONTINUE USE of any portions of EzriCare Artificial Tears Lubricant Eye Drops you may have until we can discover more details about any potential safety concerns.”
The company reported their product may still be marketed under other brand names. The CDC recommends that people who used Ezricare drops talk to their provider about an alternative treatment for dry eyes and seek medical treatment if they experience eye discharge, eye pain, eye or eyelid redness, sensitivity to light or blurry vision.
For a complete list of recommendations for health care workers and the public following this outbreak, you can reference the CDC Emergency Preparedness and Response homepage.