It’s important to monitor the concerning progression of this developing story. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 68 patients across 16 US states have received a diagnosis of a rare bacterial infection, likely caused by the use of preservative-free eyedrops.
The organization has identified a unique strain of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which is resistant to antibiotics and has resulted in one fatality as well as eight instances of vision loss across the country.
Tragically, four individuals who contracted the infection required eye surgery, including Clara Oliva, a grandmother from Florida, who is now pursuing legal action against the manufacturers of EzriCare Artificial Tears.
“My client is horribly injured and now legally blind. I am currently investigating others similarly injured by this recalled product,” Oliva’s attorney Natasha Cortes wrote in an email to Law&Crime. “These companies must be held accountable for the devastating consequences their product has caused Ms. Oliva and other consumers.”
In January, the CDC issued a warning to discontinue the use of a particular product, as well as Delsam Pharma’s Artificial Tears, due to the discovery of potentially fatal bacteria in opened bottles belonging to patients.
According to NBC, Cortes stated that the Florida woman used EzriCare Artificial Tears regularly before contracting the infection. The lawyer explained in an interview on Tuesday that the product lacks preservatives that typically protect against bacterial contamination.
Furthermore, Cortes expressed concerns that numerous individuals may have already experienced infections, similar to Ms. Oliva, without realizing it.
Oliva’s lawsuit states that she began using EzriCare Artificial Tears in May of the previous year, at 68 years old. A few months later, her right eye exhibited redness, swelling, and excessive tearing, eventually leading to a bacterial infection and corneal ulcer. Her vision continued to deteriorate as a result.
As per the lawsuit, due to the infection’s severity, the limited efficacy of available treatments, and the risk of the infection spreading and becoming life-threatening, it was determined that removal of the right eye via enucleation was the best course of action. On September 1, 2022, a plastic implant replaced Oliva’s right eye. As a consequence of her remaining left eye’s visual acuity being reduced to 20/200, she is now legally blind.
The CDC has refrained from sharing any personal information regarding the individual who passed away due to contracting the unique strain of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. In January, the health organization alerted the public to discontinue the use of both EzriCare Artificial Tears and Delsam Pharma’s Artificial Tears following the discovery of a rare infection outbreak.
In February, Global Pharma, the parent company of both products, issued a voluntary recall at the Food and Drug Administration’s formal recommendation. Nevertheless, a representative from EzriCare Artificial Tears claimed that there is no conclusive evidence linking the Pseudomonas aeruginosa outbreak to their products.
The company spokesperson stated that they are striving to contact customers and discourage them from using the product to the best of their abilities.