FDA Warns Against Eyedrops Made in 'Insanitary Conditions'
On October 27, 2023, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning [1.] to consumers to stop using 27 over-the-counter (OTC) eye drops that may pose an infection risk, marking the latest of several alerts this year against artificial tears. FDA's warning applies to the following products sold at Rite Aid:
|Rite Aid||Lubricant Eye Drops 15 ml (twin pack)||Carboxymethylcellulose Sodium Eye Drops 0.5% w/v|
|Lubricant Eye Drops 10 ml (twin pack)||Propylene Glycol Eye Drops 0.6% w/v|
|Gentle Lubricant Gel Eye Drops 15 ml||Hypromellose 0.3%, Glycerin 0.2%, Dextran 70 0.1% Eye Drops|
|Lubricant Gel Drops 15 ml||Carboxymethylcellulose Sodium Eye Drops 1% w/v|
|Lubricating Gel Drops 10 ml||Polyethylene Glycol 400 0.4% & Propylene Glycol 0.3% Eye Drops|
|Multi-Action Relief Drops 15 ml||Polyvinyl Alcohol 0.5% w/v & Povidone 0.6% w/v & Tetrahydrozoline Hydrochloride 0.05% Eye Drops|
These eye drops may contain bacteria that could cause eye infections, potentially causing vision loss or even blindness, according to the FDA. The agency said it has not received any reports of infections linked to the suspect products; however, the FDA is recommending that manufacturers pull all potentially contaminated products from store shelves. Rite Aid has stated that it is removing the products from its stores and websites.
Symptoms of an Eye Infection from Contaminated Eye Drops
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), eye infection symptoms may include:
- Eye pain or discomfort
- Blurry vision
- Sensitivity to light
- The feeling of a foreign object in the eye
- Redness or swelling of the eye or eyelid
Eye Drop Recalls in 2023
The FDA's Oct. 2023 warning comes on the heels of a series of eye drop recalls [3.] the agency issued earlier in the year after investigators found several products to be contaminated with a drug-resistant bacteria called Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Eye drops tainted with the bacteria have been associated with the deaths of at least 4 people, with dozens more affected nationwide, according to the CDC.
"This is infuriating for a few reasons," said Teresa Murray, consumer watchdog at U.S. PIRG Education Fund. "First, prior to this FDA warning, there have been three major eye drop recalls this year for bacterial contamination or unsterile products. Why has it taken this long for the FDA to discover this much broader problem? Second, this points to the need for the FDA to have authority to recall unsafe prescriptions and over-the-counter medications when companies — for example, this eye drop manufacturer — refuse to cooperate in a timely fashion."
FDA Warns Against Using 26 Eye Drops Over Infection Risk: CBS Chicago Video
What to do if You Purchased Contaminated Eye Drops
The FDA is urging consumers who have purchased any potentially tainted eye drops to stop using them immediately and throw them away. If you believe you have suffered an adverse reaction after using the lubricants, you should report your concerns to the FDA's MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program [2.].
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