PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) – A nationwide recall of several eye drop brands are putting Central Illinois optometrists on alert.
Nearly 70 patients in at least 16 states, including Illinois, reported adverse reactions with many linked to a bacterial infection known as Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
Some recalled brands include EzriCare and Delsam Pharma’s artificial tears products.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, so far this year, some patients reported losing their vision, others have had to have their eyes surgically removed, and at least three people have died.
Dr. Timothy Cundiff, with Vison Care Center in Peoria, said he’s never seen so many eye drops recalled at one time. He said he’s also thank thankful that he hasn’t seen any local cases of these adverse reactions.
“This is something that we’re not taking lightly, we’re taking precaution and so heeding the recommendations of CDC and the FDA,” Cundiff said. “Here in Illinois we follow the directive of the Illinois Optometric Association and putting out notices of the recalls, the eye drops, and things that we should not be using.”
Dr. Cundiff said some of the symptoms people who have adverse reactions, or those with eye infections, could experience include red eyes, blood shot eyes, and sticky, gooey, watery or yellowish discharge.
He said if people have an eye issue after using eye drops, they need to notify their doctor immediately.
“If you’re having a problem, don’t try to self diagnose it and try just to treat it on your own, get it checked out,” Cundiff said. “Have that treated, have that checked out and then use the prescribed drops or the recommended eye drops that we know are safe and healthy and do not have this type of risk.”
He said when it comes to using products for your eyes, always go with the recommendations of a doctor.
“Use only the eye drops that have been prescribed or recommended by your optometrist,” Cundiff said. “When you go to the drug store it’s easy to get overwhelmed with lots of choices, lots of brands, lots of boxes of drops on the wall there, it can be overwhelming. Follow the direction of your doctor.”
Dr. Cundiff said this would also be a good time for people to clean out their medicine cabinets and throw away old medication and eye drop bottles as to not mix them up and use them by accident.