Eye drop recall 2023: The full list of brands that have been recalled

Eye drops are being recalled after a number of people were left permanently blind

A close up of liquid dropping out of a pipette
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Health officials have issued an urgent eye drop recall after some brands were linked to a dangerous strain of bacteria.

Three Americans have died and several more have suffered vision loss after becoming infected with a rare drug-resistant strain of bacteria. As federal health investigators uncover more about the outbreak, cases have been increasingly linked to certain brands of eye drops, leading to several products being recalled.

Much like the recent Target candle recall, as well as the recall of certain Cosori air fryers and the withdrawal of some bottled Starbucks products from shelves, the news has left the public concerned and wanting to know more about which eye drop brands to avoid using.

Which eye drops have been recalled? Full list of brands

  • EzriCare Artificial Tears Lubricant Eye Drop
  • Delsam Pharma Artificial Tears Lubricant Eye Drops
  • Delsam Pharma Artificial Eye Ointment
  • Clear Eyes Once Daily, Eye Allergy Itch Relief
  • Pharmedica Purely Soothing 15% MSM Drops
  • Brimonidine Tartrate Ophthalmic Solution, 0.15%

Many of the patients identified in the investigation reported using different brands of eye drops, but EzriCare Artificial Tears - a preservative-free, over-the-counter product - was the brand most commonly reported.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first issued a warning against using both EzriCare Artificial Tears and Delsam Pharma’s Artificial Tears in January. Then, a month later, the manufacturer Global Pharma recalled the drops that had been sold at major drug stores across the US, including Walmart, Target, and CVS, and on Amazon. 

It issued a second recall later in February of Delsam’s Artificial Eye Ointment "due to possible microbial contamination."

Why are eye drops being recalled?

Some brands of eye drops are being recalled because they have been linked to a strain of bacteria called Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which is resistant to antibiotic treatments and can even prove deadly for those with weakened immune systems.

Cases of infection have so far been recorded in 68 patients across 16 states: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin.

The outbreak has been linked to three deaths and multiple cases of people going blind, while others have had their eyeballs surgically removed. 

However, officials at the FDA have indicated that not every recall currently in place involving eye drops is explicitly linked to Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

What to do if you have used recalled eye drops

The CDC and FDA have urged patients to immediately stop using the recalled eye drops, even if they haven't experienced an infection.

Meanwhile, patients who have previously used the recalled products should contact their doctors and ask for a substitute, and they should immediately contact a health professional if they experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Discharge from the eye
  • Eye pain or discomfort
  • Redness of the eye or eyelid
  • Feeling something in the eye
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Blurry vision

Dr Thomas Steinemann, clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology, told CNN: "There are millions and millions of people that use eye drops safely and successfully in the United States for a variety of reasons.

"I want to emphasize that for the average eye drop user, there’s probably very little concern and they shouldn’t stop using their eye medicines or even their over-the-counter preparations… Most drops on the market have preservatives in them that would counteract that threat [of bacteria multiplying and spreading in the eye.]"

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Ellie Hutchings
Family News Editor

Ellie is GoodtoKnow’s Family News Editor and covers all the latest trends in the parenting world - from relationship advice and baby names to wellbeing and self-care ideas for busy mums. Ellie is also an NCTJ-qualified journalist and has a distinction in MA Magazine Journalism from Nottingham Trent University and a first-class degree in Journalism from Cardiff University. Previously, Ellie has worked with BBC Good Food, The Big Issue, and the Nottingham Post, as well as freelancing as an arts and entertainment writer alongside her studies. When she’s not got her nose in a book, you’ll probably find Ellie jogging around her local park, indulging in an insta-worthy restaurant, or watching Netflix’s newest true crime documentary.