The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued a warning after a rare strain of bacteria was found in over-the-counter eye drops.
So far, a total of three deaths have been linked to 2 over-the-counter eye drops. At least 4 people underwent procedures to remove their eyeballs, and dozens of people have suffered vision loss or other symptoms.
The deaths are linked to a deadly outbreak of Pseudomonas aeruginosa in the contaminated eye drops, according to the CDC.
The CDC has identified 68 patients in 16 states, as of March 21.
Artificial tears is available over-the-counter for the relief of dry eyes. The industry is largely unregulated by the federal government or health departments.
India-based Global Pharma Healthcare recalled its Artificial Tears Lubricant Eye Drops that were distributed by EzriCare and Delsam Pharma last month, CBS News reports.
EzriCare Artificial Tears was the brand most commonly reported, the CDC says.
In one case, a 72-year-old woman lost vision in her left eye after using EzriCare artificial tears for about a week.
Another woman, Clara Oliva, had her right eyeball removed by a doctor when she developed an infection after using EzriCare artificial tears in September. She also lost sight in her left eye and is now legally blind.
Oliva, who lives in Miami, filed a lawsuit against the U.S.-based distributors of the drops.
“I want justice,” said Oliva, whose life has changed “1,000 percent.”