What to know about the recent eye drop recalls
Two brands of eye drops were pulled from shelves in January and February after they were linked to a drug-resistant strain of bacteria that caused the death of at least one person and serious health problems in others. A few weeks later, two other types of eye drops were recalled because they posed a different type of contamination risk.
This flurry of reminders may have you questioning your reliable source of dry eye relief, but there are significant differences between the reminders and plenty of steps you can take to stay safe.
“I encourage anyone taking eye drops to continue using them, making sure of course not to use any that are recalled,” said Dr. Christopher Starr, clinical spokesperson for the American Academy. of Ophthalmology. .
Here’s what you need to know about these recalls.
Which eye drops have been recalled?
In January, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration warned people to stop using EzriCare artificial tears and Delsam Pharma artificial tears after the eye drops were linked to a drug-resistant strain of the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Infections caused by this bacterial strain have caused the death of at least one person, loss of vision in eight others and the surgical removal of the eyeballs of four people.
Global Pharma, which makes EzriCare and Delsam Pharma eye drops, recalled both products in February.
Last week, a Florida woman sued Global Pharma, claiming an infection caused by the eye drops was so severe that doctors had to surgically remove one of her eyes.
The FDA has also warned people to stop using eye ointment made by Global Pharma due to possible contamination.
The other two eye drop recalls were unrelated to the bacteria outbreak.
On March 1, Apotex recalled prescription eye drops used to reduce eye pressure in people with glaucoma or ocular hypertension. The company recalled six lots of Brimonidine Tartrate Ophthalmic Solution 0.15% because at least four bottle caps developed cracks, which could affect the sterility of the product.
On March 3, Pharmedica recalled two lots of Purely Soothing 15% MSM Drops because they were not sterile. These drops are used to treat eye irritation and swelling.
View recall notices.
The CDC said that as of March 14, the drug-resistant bacterial strain linked to the recalled EzriCare and Delsam eye drops had been found in 68 people in 16 states.
The best way to tell if you have eye drops that were included in the recall is to check the recall notice provided by each company. Each notice contains details about the batch of each affected product.
The review for EzriCare and Delsam eye drops is here, and the review for Global Pharma eye ointment is here. The Apotex Brimonidine Tartrate review is here and the Pharmedica Purely Soothing review is here.
See a doctor if you have symptoms.
People who have used these artificial tears and have symptoms of eye infection should seek medical attention immediately, the CDC said. Symptoms may include yellow, green, or clear discharge from the eye, redness of the eye or eyelid, increased sensitivity to light, and eye pain or discomfort.
Apotex said people who received its recalled eye drops, which were distributed between April 5, 2022 and February 22, should contact their healthcare provider and pharmacy. The company also provided a phone number and website for people to request a “recall/return package.”
An Apotex vice president, Jordan Berman, said in an email that the company had seen only four bottles with cracked caps. He said one of the bottles came from a customer or consumer complaint and the other three were found in retained samples — products the FDA requires a company to keep just in case. such problems would arise.
“There have been no drug safety reports of any adverse health effects from this product,” Berman said.
Pharmedica said that as of March 3, it had not received any reports of illness or other “adverse events” related to the use of the eye drops. The company did not say how many bottles were affected or how the bottles became non-sterile.
Anyone having problems with any of the recalled eye drops can file a report with the FDA online, by mail, or by fax.
Eye drops are generally safe.
Dr. Barbara Tylka, an optometrist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, said that in general eye drops are safe to use and many people need them to treat conditions such as dryness or irritation. About 117 million Americans used eye drops and eye drops in 2020, according to Statista, a market research company.
To use eye drops safely, Dr Tylka said people should use their own bottle and make sure it hasn’t expired. People who have been prescribed eye drops for a procedure such as cataract surgery should stop using these products once the healing process is complete, she said.
To safely apply eye drops, she said, people should use their non-dominant hand to “gently pull down on the lower eyelid, look slightly upward,” then, with the dominant hand, put “that little drop in that low cul-de-sac in the eyelid area.
Dr Starr, associate professor of ophthalmology at Weill Cornell Medicine, said one thing some patients do wrong is pressing the tip of the bottle into the inner corner of the eye, which can contaminate the drops and scratch the surface of the eye. He stated that when he accidentally hits his eyelid or eyelashes with the mouthpiece of the bottle, he considers the bottle contaminated and resterilizes or replaces it.
Both Dr. Starr and Dr. Tylka pointed out that while the recalls were concerning, the eye drops are generally safe.
“I continued to use eye drops every day throughout all of this,” Dr. Starr said.