AARP Eye Center
The maker of EzriCare Artifical Tears placed a recall on the product amid an investigation led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) into at least 55 bacterial infections in 12 states that have resulted in permanent vision loss, hospitalization and one death.
The type of infection linked to the drops, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, is resistant to antibiotics and poses a greater threat to those who are immunocompromised. CDC testing determined the bacteria in the recalled products was resistant to antibiotics such as carbapenem, ceftazidime and cefepime.
AARP Membership — $12 for your first year when you sign up for Automatic Renewal
Get instant access to members-only products and hundreds of discounts, a free second membership, and a subscription to AARP The Magazine.
Although most infections were linked to the EzriCare brand of eye drops, patients with infections reported using more than 10 different brands of artificial tears.
While preservative-free drops are recommended for people who apply artificial tears more than four times a day or have moderate to severe dry eyes, they are more likely to support bacterial growth after the bottle is opened, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Infections were reported in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Nevada, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin.
The manufacturer, Global Pharma Healthcare, based in India, recalled EzraCare Artificial Tears and two other products, Delsam Pharma’s Artificial Tears and Delsam Pharma’s Artificial Eye Ointment, at the recommendation of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The agency has also placed an import alert on the company, blocking its products from entering the U.S., citing poor manufacturing practices and lack of appropriate testing and packaging, according to a statement.
Consumers are advised to stop using EzriCare Artificial Tears and seek medical care if they have signs of an eye infection. The CDC says symptoms include:
- Discharge from the eye
- Pain or discomfort
- Sensitivity to light
- Blurry vision
- A feeling like something is in the eye
Editor's note: This story, published Feb. 1, 2023, has been updated.