Florida grandmother is suing eye drop company after having surgery to remove her right eye, now blind
A Florida grandmother is suing the makers of EzriCare Artificial Tears, a recalled product she alleges caused a bacterial infection in her eye that necessitated surgical removal.
Clara Oliva, 68, who is now registered as legally blind, is one of eight patients who have lost their sight from using the eye drops.
Four of those people who became infected eventually required surgery to remove their eyes as they had lost their sight. One person also died as a result of the infection.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has since issued an alert, noting how the rare bacterial infection is faring, despite diagnoses being made in 68 patients across 16 US states.
Oliva had her right eye removed in September and replaced with a plastic implant.
WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
Clara Oliva, 68, who is now registered as legally blind, is one of eight patients who lost her sight because she used eye drops she believed were causing an eye infection
The South Florida grandmother is adjusting to life after a bacterial infection struck her right eye
The CDC has linked 68 cases of bacterial infection in 16 states to EzriCare Artificial Tears (pictured). Several patients have gone blind and at least one person has died
According to Oliva’s attorney, Natasha Cortes, she was using EzriCare Artificial Tears before she developed the infection.
“My client is terribly injured and is now legally blind. I am currently evaluating other individuals who have been similarly injured by this recalled product,” Cortes said.
According to the lawsuit, Oliva began using EzriCare Artificial Tears in May of last year.
Months later, her right eye became “red, swollen, and unusually watery.” She then developed a bacterial infection that caused a corneal ulcer and deterioration in her vision.
“Given the severity of the infection in Ms. Oliva’s right eye, the exhaustion of treatment methods, and the risk that the infection could spread systematically and cause a life-threatening condition, it was determined that enucleation of Ms. Oliva’s right eye was the best option to address the severe.” to control antibiotic-resistant infection,” the suit explains.
In May 2022, she began using EzriCare Artificial Tears, an over-the-counter product, to relieve dry eyes caused by contact lenses. An aggressive infection soon spread
Oliva sought treatment from her doctor almost immediately, but nothing helped. All the while, she continued to use the drops, unaware that there was concern
The Florida grandmother is now suing the makers of EzriCare Artificial Tears, a recalled product she used frequently before becoming infected
“On September 1, 2022, Ms. Oliva’s right eye was surgically removed and replaced with a plastic implant. Given her reduced visual acuity of 20/200 in her remaining left eye, Mrs. Oliva is now legally blind.”
“These companies must be held accountable for the devastating consequences their product has caused to Ms. Oliva and other consumers.”
Her attorney claims that the preservative-free product makes it more susceptible to bacterial contamination, which can lead to infections like Oliva’s.
“I’ve always been independent,” Oliva told WPLG. “I’ve always worked. My life has changed 1000%.”
Cortes also announced that she is also investigating other people who may have been similarly injured by the recalled product.
‘It [the product] contains no preservatives used to combat bacterial contamination,” Cortes told NBC Miami. “There are probably a lot more people who have suffered infections who don’t know, like Ms Oliva did.”
Oliva said she spent a month fighting the infection with various treatments, antibiotics and even surgery. The doctors ultimately had no choice but to remove the entire eye.
“My client is terribly injured and is now legally blind. I am currently investigating others who have been similarly injured by this recalled product,” said attorney Natasha Cortes, pictured
A spokesman for EzriCare Artificial Tears stated that testing has not definitively linked the outbreak of Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection to their products
In January, the CDC warned the public to stop using EzriCare Artificial Tears and Delsam Pharma’s Artificial Tears and Ointment after it found that opened bottles taken from patients contained potentially deadly bacteria.
Cases of the bacterial infection have been reported in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Nevada, Texas, Utah and Washington.
Patients reported to the CDC that they used the eye drops before they became ill.
The patients suffered from blindness, respiratory infections and urinary tract infections, among others.
A blood infection that a person suffered from eventually led to his death. It is unclear whether the patient had an underlying medical condition that put him at increased risk.
After the outbreak of the infections, Global Pharma Healthcare, the manufacturer of both products, initiated a voluntary recall.
The drops were previously sold at Walmart and Amazon, although the products have since been withdrawn.
Despite this, a spokesman for EzriCare Artificial Tears stated that the tests did not definitively link the Pseudomonas aeruginosa outbreak to their products.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa causes infections in the blood and lungs, the CDC reports.
Like many other superbugs, it is most commonly found in hospitals — where bacteria find a way to survive in hyper-sterilized environments.
“As far as possible, we have contacted customers to advise them against further use of the product,” a company representative said. “We also immediately reached out to the CDC and FDA and indicated our willingness to cooperate with any inquiries they have for us.”
The outbreak of infections has raised concerns about the safety of preservative-free eye drops and has led to the recall of the affected products.
The CDC has urged people to stop using them to prevent the spread of the rare strain of bacteria, but now families are demanding accountability and justice from product manufacturers.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11876643/Florida-grandmother-sues-eye-drop-company-right-eye-surgically-removed-blind.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Florida grandmother is suing eye drop company after having surgery to remove her right eye, now blind