More Eye Drops Join EzriCare® in FDA Warnings Due to Bacterial Contamination

person applies contaminated eye drops

Following an outbreak of infections caused by contaminated EzriCare® and Delsam Pharma® Artificial Tears eye drops, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has continued to investigate the safety of different eye drop products on the market.

The FDA has now issued warnings for over 29 additional eye drop products since August 2023.

These products are intended to be sterile. However, investigators have identified bacterial and fungal contamination at manufacturing facilities and in certain products — including those sold by popular brands like Walmart, Target, Rite Aid, and CVS.

Using contaminated eye drops can lead to infections, vision loss, or even death. The FDA encourages anyone who has purchased these products to discontinue use and dispose of them immediately.

If you or a loved one was harmed due to contaminated eye drops, Sokolove Law may be able to help you pursue justice and compensation.

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Which Eye Drops Are Contaminated?

Earlier this year, the use of contaminated Delsam Pharma and EzriCare eye drops resulted in over 80 infections and 4 deaths among patients.

Since then, the FDA’s list of contaminated eye drops has only continued to grow. In August 2023, the FDA announced the discovery of bacteria in Dr. Berne’s MSM Drops and LightEyez MSM Eye Drops. Dr. Berne's eye drops also had fungal contamination.

More recently, an investigator found unsanitary conditions and the presence of bacteria in a manufacturing facility, leading the agency to warn the public against the use of an additional 27 eye drop products.

These generic products are marketed under the brands CVS Health, Leader (Cardinal Health), Rugby (Cardinal Health), Rite Aid, Target Up & Up™, and Velocity Pharma.

The list of contaminated eye drops includes: 

CVS Health- Lubricant Eye Drops 10 ml (single and twin packs)
- Lubricant Eye Drops 15 ml (single and twin packs)
- Lubricant Gel Drops 15 ml (single and twin packs)
- Lubricating Gel Drops 10 ml
- Mild Moderate Lubricating Eye Drops 15 ml (single pack)
- Multi-Action Relief Drops 15 ml
Leader (Cardinal Health)- Dry Eye Relief 10 ml
- Dry Eye Relief 15 ml
- Eye Irritation Relief 15 ml
- Lubricant Eye Drops 15 ml (single and twin packs)
Rugby (Cardinal Health)- Lubricating Tears Eye Drops 15 ml
- Polyvinyl Alcohol 1.4% Lubricating Eye Drops 15 ml
Rite Aid- Gentle Lubricant Gel Eye Drops 15 ml
- Lubricant Eye Drops 10 ml (single and twin packs)
- Lubricant Eye Drops 15 ml (single and twin packs)
- Lubricant Gel Drops 15 ml
- Lubricating Gel Drops 10 ml
- Multi-Action Relief Drops 15 ml
Target- Up & Up™ Dry Eye Relief Lubricant Eye Drops 30 ml
- Up & Up™ Extreme Relief Dry Eye 15 ml (single pack)
- Up & Up™ Extreme Relief Dry Eye 30 ml (twin pack)
Velocity Pharma- Lubricant Eye Drops 10 ml (triple pack)
Walmart- Equate Hydration PF Lubricant Eye Drop 10 ml

So far, the FDA is not aware of any adverse effects associated with these specific products. The agency has requested any patient who used these eye drops and experienced serious side effects report their experience to a doctor.

Beyond Just Contamination: Unapproved Active Ingredients & Illegal Product Marketing

In addition to the bacterial and fungal contamination, both Dr. Berne’s and LightEyez’ contain the active ingredient methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), which is not FDA-approved to treat eye-related conditions.

MSM is a chemical that has been used to reduce inflammation in people suffering from arthritis or other joint and muscle pain. LightEyez’ website alleges MSM can also “soften eye tissues,” “lessen eye floaters,” “stop eye allergies,” and solve a list of other eye irritations — but these claims may be unfounded.

“These products are unapproved drugs and illegally marketed in the U.S. There are no legally marketed [eye] drugs that contain MSM as an active ingredient.”
– U.S. Food and Drug Administration

While Dr. Berne’s Whole Health Products went through with the contaminated eye drop recall, neither Dr. Berne’s nor LightEyez has made a comment regarding the unapproved nature of the MSM ingredient.

What Happens If You Use Contaminated Eye Drops?

The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act requires eye drops to be sterile in order to ensure they are safe for use. Even a trace amount of bacteria or fungus present in the bottle can colonize or grow out of control, which may lead to serious health concerns.

Once applied to the eyes, these contaminants go directly into the body. What may first start as an eye infection could soon advance to permanent vision loss or life-threatening infections.

Some symptoms of an eye infection may include:

  • Blurry vision
  • Discharge from the eye
  • Eye redness
  • Light sensitivity
  • Pain in the eyes

The Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria found in EzriCare eye drops is extremely resistant to antibiotics, making these eye infections difficult to treat. This type of bacteria can lead to complications like blood infections, pneumonia, and sepsis.

While the FDA has not announced the specific type of bacteria found in the latest batch of contaminated eye drops, the agency did note that the same Pseudomonas strain of bacteria was also found in LightEyez’ products in August 2023.

If you begin experiencing symptoms of an eye infection after using any eye drops that may have been contaminated, contact your doctor immediately for necessary medical advice.

Get Legal Help After Using Contaminated Eye Drops

If you developed a serious infection after using contaminated eye drops, our experienced attorneys may be able to file a legal claim and fight for justice on your behalf.

At Sokolove Law, we have over 45 years of experience holding negligent companies accountable for their actions. We’ve secured more than $9.4 Billion for clients who were harmed through no fault of their own.

Our contaminated eye drop lawyers can help patients in all 50 states file an EzriCare lawsuit and pursue compensation for their injuries.

Let us get you the money you deserve. Call (800) 995-1212 now or fill out our contact form for a free, no-obligation case review.

Note: All brands are trademarks of their respective companies.

Author:
Sokolove Law Team

Contributing Authors

The Sokolove Law Content Team is made up of writers, editors, and journalists. We work with case managers and attorneys to keep site information up to date and accurate. Our site has a wealth of resources available for victims of wrongdoing and their families.

Last modified: November 1, 2023

  1. Butawan, M., Benjamin, R. L., & Bloomer, R. J. (2017). “Methylsulfonylmethane: Applications and Safety of a Novel Dietary Supplement.” Nutrients. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5372953/. Accessed on October 31, 2023.
  2. Dr. Berne’s. “Eye Drops.” Retrieved from: https://shop.drsamberne.com/collections/msm-drops. Accessed on October 31, 2023.
  3. NBC News. “FDA warns against using contaminated eyedrops sold online.” Retrieved from: https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/new-warning-fda-using-contaminated-eyedrops-rcna101400. Accessed on October 31, 2023.
  4. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. “FDA warns consumers not to purchase or use certain methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) eye drops due to contamination.” Retrieved from: https://www.fda.gov/drugs/drug-safety-and-availability/fda-warns-consumers-not-purchase-or-use-certain-methylsulfonylmethane-msm-eye-drops-due?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery. Accessed on October 31, 2023.
  5. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. “FDA warns consumers not to purchase or use certain eye drops from several major brands due to risk of eye infection.” Retrieved from: https://www.fda.gov/drugs/drug-safety-and-availability/fda-warns-consumers-not-purchase-or-use-certain-eye-drops-several-major-brands-due-risk-eye. Accessed on October 31, 2023.