Deaths, vision loss and eyeball removal in US after use of contaminated eye drops

Mar 22 2023, 6:32 pm

Multiple people have died along with numerous reports of vision loss in the US following an outbreak of a rare drug-resistant bacteria tied to contaminated eye drops.

The CDC said in a news release that as of March 14, 2023, CDC, in partnership with state and local health departments, identified 68 patients in 16 states with VIM-GES-CRPA, a rare strain of extensively drug-resistant P. aeruginosa.

Three people have died and there have been eight reports of vision loss and four reports of enucleation (surgical removal of the eyeball).

The outbreak strain, carbapenem-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa with Verona integron-mediated metallo-β-lactamase and Guiana extended-spectrum-β-lactamase (VIM-GES-CRPA), had never been reported in the US prior to this upsurge.

The outbreak is associated with multiple types of infections, including eye infections. The investigation to date has identified artificial tears as a common exposure for many patients.

Patients reported over 10 different brands of artificial tears, with some patients using multiple brands. EzriCare Artificial Tears, a preservative-free, over-the-counter product packaged in multidose bottles, was the brand most commonly reported.

Due to the outbreak, the CDC and FDA recommend that clinicians and patients stop using EzriCare or Delsam Pharma’s Artificial Tears products pending additional guidance from CDC and FDA.

Patients who have used EzriCare or Delsam Pharma’s Artificial Tears that have signs or symptoms of an eye infection should seek medical care immediately, the CDC added.

Eye infection symptoms may include:

  • Yellow, green, or clear discharge from the eye
  • Eye pain or discomfort
  • Redness of the eye or eyelid
  • The feeling of something in your eye (foreign body sensation)
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Blurry vision
Laine MitchellLaine Mitchell

+ News
+ Science
+ Canada