Eye drops can now cause infections: 68 cases across 16 states

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Eye drops can provide comfort by relieving dryness and irritation. It can promote healing in cases of injuries or infections, but a recent product of artificial tears by EzriCare did quite the opposite.

It has been linked to a disease-causing bacteria that resulted in infections and blindness. It infected dozens of people, and 3 people lost their lives. The devil called Pseudomonas aeruginosa has become resistant to so many drugs, it is now called carbapenem-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa with Verona integron-mediated metallo-β-lactamase and Guiana extended-spectrum-β-lactamase. Yes, that is quite a mouthful.

After multiple treatments, the bacteria have grown resistant over time. In 2020, there were about 28,000 hospitalized cases in the US. While the bacteria does nothing different, what makes it so dangerous is that it can mutate and become resistant to other treatment drugs.

Infections and blindness are not the only consequences of coming in contact with this bacteria. Since the eyes are linked to the nasal cavity, the infection can spread. It can cause pneumonia. The infection spreads through blood and can infect other parts of the body just as easily. It can cause sepsis. Sepsis is an emergency medical condition resulting from infection which can cause multiple organ failure. It requires immediate hospitalization and intensive care.

The Consequences of Artificial Tears

Three people lost their lives. Twenty-six were hospitalized. Three people had to get corneal transplants, and four had to have at least one eye removed. Considering we depend on our eyes for most (if not all) of our everyday activities, this is a grave consequence of using simple eye drops. You never imagine that eye drops will become the reason you lose your eyes.

It is only now that we’re hearing the media talk about this, but cases have been reported since last summer. That’s also because most infections go undetected until they become severe. Multiple teams of doctors, microbiologists, and other healthcare experts are trying to figure out how to help the infected, but it seems like this bacterium is a stubborn little fellow.

Where the problem lies

Like most manufacturing tasks of US products, the manufacturing of these eye drops was outsourced to India. Following the report of these infections, health and sterility concerns have been raised at the factories. The Global Pharma Healthcare facility in India is to ensure that standards are maintained.

Safety procedures must be followed. Pseudomonas aeruginosa has been on the face of the earth way before humans have. If it has survived, it has evolved to fight our medicines and antibiotics. It’s always one step ahead.

This, however, is not the only strain of bacteria that can do this. Humans are fragile species, and we are vulnerable to many diseases. That’s why, the next time you buy a cosmetic or healthcare product, even if it is over-the-counter, make sure it is tried and tested. Unless it has been in the market for years and no major side effects have been reported, tread with caution.

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