CDC: Recalled eyedrops linked to life-threatening infections

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A drug-resistant bacteria discovered in eye drops is impacting a growing number of patients in the U.S. – 68 people in 16 states.

The CDC is linking life-threatening infections to Ezri Care and Delsam Pharma over-the-counter artificial tears.

“Some of these infections led to death, typically from bloodstream infections starting in the eye, and other infections led to loss of the eye entirely,” said Dr. James Chodosh, chair of the UNM Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences. “Many of them led to a permanent drop in vision.

Officials with the New Mexico Department of Health say there has been one infected patient in the state, who has recovered.

“You shouldn’t use tears from either of those brands if you have them,” Dr. Chodosh said. “They’ve been recalled so you shouldn’t actually find them. They’re now brands I’m familiar with.”

Dr. Chodosh said artificial tears are generally a safe product to use.

The infection linked to those brands causes an immediate reaction — one that requires immediate help.

“It immediately causes light sensitivity, tearing and blurred vision — usually, you know, something is seriously wrong when you have a cornea ulcer,” he said. “Those kind of symptoms should never be ignored.”