According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), three people have died and four had to have their eyeballs removed due to an outbreak of a rare, drug-resistant bacteria that is linked to contaminated eye drops.
The eyedrops that were recalled by the CDC include EzriCare Artificial Tears as well as Delsam Pharma's Artificial Tears and its Artificial Eye Ointment.
As of March 14, 2023, 68 patients in 16 different states were infected due to tainted eyedrops. The culprit behind this infection is a bacteria known as Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Beeran Meghpara who is a cornea specialist at Wills Eye Hospital describes the problematic bacteria in the following words: "Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a type of bacteria that ophthalmologists encounter when treating infections of the cornea, the clear layer that covers the eye. These infections typically arise when people sleep with their contact lenses or don’t use the proper cleaning solutions. They are fairly common and treatable."
Per reports, Pseudomonas aeruginosa can be found in soil and water and even on the hands of healthy people. However, it can be especially deadly to those who have weakened immune systems as was the case of the 37 patients who were linked to four health care facility outbreaks.
A cause for concern among healthcare professionals is that this particular strain of bacteria is resistant to antibiotics therefore difficult to treat.
According to the CDC, those who exhibit the following signs or symptoms of eye infection should seek medical attention:
- Yellow, green, or clear discharge from the eye.
- Eye pain or discomfort.
- Redness of the eye or eyelid.
- A feeling of something in your eye (foreign body sensation).
- Increased sensitivity to light.
- Blurry vision.
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