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Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Are Eye Drops Safe to Use?

Posted By: Advancing Care

Recently, frightening images of people affected by a batch of tainted eye drops have been circling the internet. These pictures and subsequent product recall have led to many questions about the safety of eye drops and whether people should continue to use them for routine eye care or as a means of delivering medication.

Abha Amin, MD, an ophthalmologist and section chief of Complex Anterior Segment Surgery at Westchester Medical Center, sheds light on why the recall happened: “A specific batch of artificial tears sold under the brands EzriCare and Delsam Pharma was found to contain harmful multi-drug-resistant bacteria. This bacteria led to an outbreak of infections among users.”

Abha Amin, MD
Abha Amin, MD

It’s important to note that the antibiotic-resistant bacteria found in these eye drops have never been found in the U.S. before. Those who are using the brands listed should discontinue use and discard these eye drops immediately.

Dr. Amin wants people to know that, in general, artificial tears and eye drops are safe. “It's critical to continue your necessary and prescribed eye treatments, like glaucoma or post-op medications, despite isolated incidents like this recall. Just ensure you're not using recalled products and always discard expired eye drops.”

Expert Advice for Safe Eyedrop Application

There are several precautions you can take when using eye drops to maintain their safety:

  1. Avoid touching the tip of the dropper to anything, including your hands and eyes
  2. Follow instructions on the frequency of use and timing of drops; do not take all of them at once
  3. Call your eye doctor immediately if you experience redness, pain or discharge from your eyes.

Dr. Amin also shared some valuable tips on the best way to apply eye drops: “Using a mirror can provide guidance when administering eye drops yourself. Gently pull down your lower eyelid to create a small pocket for the liquid, then hold the dropper above your eye and let a single drop fall into that space. One drop is enough — there’s no need to put multiple drops in your eyes.”

If you have trouble putting in eye drops yourself, it can be helpful to have a family member or friend do it for you. “Putting in eye drops can be especially difficult for those who have tremors or other physical impairments,” says Dr. Amin. “There’s absolutely nothing wrong with asking for help if you need it.”

Staying informed about recalls and product safety concerns, as well as following your eye doctor’s instructions on using eye drops, can help ensure you maintain good eye health while keeping potential risks at bay.

State-of-the-Art Therapies for Your Vision

WMCHealth’s Advanced Eye Specialty Services has office locations in Westchester and Ulster counties. If you’re concerned about your eye health or have questions about using eye drops, schedule a vision consultation with a WMCHealth eye specialist by calling 914.313.EYES (3937) or visit our website to review our extensive eye health services.