Ty: Here’s a question for our viewers at home. Are you using contaminated eye drops? Well, the FDA recently recalled 27 eye products meant to treat dry eyes for unsanitary conditions in manufacturing. Now this warning comes after four people lost their sight because of bacteria and eyedrops.
Refractive eye surgeon at Brinton Vision St. Louis, Dr. Jason Brinton, joins us this morning about this alarming recall. Doctor, thank you for being here with us this morning.
So why did the FDA announce this recall of 27 different eyedrops?
Dr. Brinton: Well, first of all, Ty, Americans purchased 149 million eyecare products this past year at a total cost of $1.6 billion. And while the recall is extensive and unprecedented, it does affect a number of household consumer brands, including Target, Walmart, Rite Aid and CVS brands. It affects less than 1% of the total drops available on the US market.
The FDA had concerns about whether the eye drops were sterile, and some inspections at a manufacturing plant confirmed this.
Ty: How do we know if our eye drop of choice has been involved in this recall by the FDA?
Dr. Brinton: So there are some common sense precautions that you can take to avoid this issue. For one, the list has been published online, and if a consumer in our viewer area purchases an eyedrop or wants to purchase an eyedrop, they can ask the pharmacist at the location if it’s on the recall list.
Ty: Now you mentioned this is unprecedented. 27. This is huge for consumers ’cause a lot of people use eye drops.
Dr. Brinton: It’s a significant number. This goes all the way back to February. So this is one of eight actions this year that the FDA has taken with questions about the sterility of eyedrops. Eyedrops bypass the natural defenses of the body. Pills and creams don’t have to be sterile, but eyedrops do. Originally in February, when this came out, there were 81 individuals affected in 18 states, including in the state of Illinois. Of those, about 14 had vision loss, four had to have their eyes surgically removed, and four died as a result of this.
So, some common sense precautions go a long way in just recognizing the symptoms of an eye infection, such as if you have redness or a tearing or a sensation like there’s something in your eye or if your eye hurts. In those cases, it’s important to seek medical help immediately if you’ve just taken an eye drop.
Ty: Now we’ve identified that there are 27 different eyedrops. What can we do moving forward? As for consumers, if they’re looking to get a different eye drop, if they’re just on the list?
Dr. Brinton: Well, first of all, our American Academy of Ophthalmology and other organizations are working with the FDA to be more proactive, very hopeful. The piece of news is that this most recent round didn’t involve any actual eye infections. The FDA is working to be proactive and get out in front of this. Any eye drops that have been recalled should be off the shelf at this point.
And I think that it’s important that American consumers have confidence in the supply and sterility of their eye drops. Most of those that were recalled represented a very, very small percentage of eyedrops and have already been taken off the shelf. Also, in some cases, the bottle drop cap was broken. So inspecting the cap and making sure that the expiration date is not passed is very important. Once an eye drop bottle is open, it should be discarded within 28 days.
Ty: Got it. Good to know. Thank you, doctor. We’re gonna have a complete list of the recalled eyedrops on our website, Fox two now.com