The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an alert on October 27 to stop using over-the-counter eye drops due to a potential risk of eye infection and vision loss. Millions of people who depend on these products to relieve their dry eye conditions will have to find another solution until the issue is resolved.
The 26 different eye drops associated with the FDA alert include brands sold at leading pharmacies like CVS, Target, and Rite Aid; those retailers have already begun to remove the eye drops from their shelves and online stores. Brands include CVS Health, Rite Aid, Target Up&Up, Velocity Pharma, Leader, and Rugby.
The alert also cautioned that Velocity, Rugby, and Leader eye drops may still be available online or in store but should not be purchased. Any products at home should be discontinued immediately.
Manufacturers Harvard Drug Group and Cardinal Health quickly issued voluntary recalls for certain Rugby Laboratories and Leader eye products, respectively. Another product, Walmart’s Equate brand Hydration PF Lubricant Eye Drop (10 mL), was later added to the FDA’s list. Walmart is currently removing the affected products from their shelves and website.
All users and medical professionals are encouraged to report adverse events using the FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program. None have been reported as of this writing.
OTC eye drops, intended to be sterile, carry an increased risk of injury or harm due to the nature of their application. Drugs administered directly to the eyes bypass many of the body’s natural defense mechanisms and can cause infection if contaminated with fungus or bacteria.
An earlier FDA alert, issued in August, urged consumers to stop using two other eye drop products linked to fungal and bacterial contamination. LightEyez MSM Eye Drop Eye Repair was found to contain drug-resistant bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Mycobacterium, Mycolicibacterium, and Methylorubrum. Another product, Dr. Berne’s MSM Drops 5% Solution, was contaminated with Exophiala fungi.
In February, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that artificial tears and eye drop products, EzriCare Artificial Tears and Delsam Pharma’s Artificial Tears and Artificial Eye Ointment, were contaminated with Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Eighty-five people who used them contracted an eye infection; four were fatal.
Eye Drops Lawsuits Filed
The EzriCare and Delsam Pharma products mentioned above have been recalled over the past year due to bacterial and fungal contamination. The resulting infections led to serious health risks for consumers, including vision loss and death. Those consumers have begun filing artificial tears eye drops lawsuits.
Some plaintiffs allege that the eye drops led to antibiotic-resistant infection; others blame the drops for their development of partial blindness. Some claimants say the infections contracted after using the drops spread from their eyes to their back, torso, and abdomen, resulting in continued vision loss and other side effects.
A consumer fraud class action lawsuit has also been filed. The suit alleges that the distributors and manufacturer knew, or should have known, that the artificial tears were contaminated and marketed them as safe anyway.
Should I Contact an Artificial Tears Injury Attorney?
If you or a loved one has used any of the recalled eye drops and is experiencing symptoms of eye infection, seek medical attention right away. Also, know that there are legal channels to explore. Consulting an artificial tears injury attorney can provide guidance on how to navigate consumer fraud litigation and obtain compensation for an injury sustained after using contaminated products.
Filing suit against these manufacturers will also reduce the health risks to others who use artificial tear eye drops. Users of the contaminated products are now taking medication or undergoing surgery for a completely preventable infection. For some, treatment came too late to save their vision or their lives.
Most people don’t think twice about using eye drops to soothe dry eyes. But when those drops are contaminated due to negligence, a routine activity becomes a risk for devastating consequences. A personal injury attorney with expertise in artificial tears lawsuits can help you obtain financial compensation that will assist you while you learn to live with vision loss. Holding manufacturers, distributors, and retailers accountable for their role in eye drop injuries can protect future users from medical bills, loss of work, and more.