Connecticut health officials say 25 patients linked to bacterial eye drops outbreak

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Food and Drug Administration are warning about a dangerous bacterial outbreak associated with eye drops.
Connecticut is one of 16 states impacted by this outbreak.
The CDC and FDA are warning people to stop using EzriCare and Delsam Pharm's artificial tears after being linked to contamination of bacteria called Pseudomonas aeruginosa. If the bacteria gets into the eye, it can latch onto the cornea and create a little ulcer on the eye, at a minimum.
A major issue with this bacteria is that it is resistant to standard antibiotics. If this infection goes untreated, it can get progressive and lead to blindness.
"For the most part, go on and use your glaucoma drops, use your dry eye drops but do not use any of these drops that have been recalled," said Dr. Alan Solinsky, an ophthalmologist at Hartford HealthCare.
There are currently 68 cases linked to the eyedrops across 16 states, including Connecticut. Officials say three people have died as a result, eight have suffered vision loss and four have had to have one or both eyeballs surgically removed.
Solinsky says some symptoms to look out for are – severe pain, very red eyes, discharge, loss of vision or light sensitivity.
"If those things are happening and, in particular if you've used these recalled drops, you should definitely see your eye doctor as soon as possible," he said.
Solinsky advises people to wash their hands before administering eye drops, avoid letting the bottle touch their eyes and to throw it out if it does, and to make sure the eyedrops are not expired.
The Connecticut Department of Health says it has worked with five health care facilities that have identified cases related to this outbreak and a total of 25 patients in Connecticut.
Two other companies issued a voluntary recall of their eyedrops as a precaution. The FDA says Pharmedica USA LLC and Apotex Corporation have voluntarily recalled two lots of Purely Soothing – 15-percent MSM Drops and six lots of Brimonidine Tartrate Ophthalmic Solution – 15-percent.