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25 cases of potentially deadly infection linked to artificial tears found in Connecticut

Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a bacterial infection of the eye tied to certain brands of artificial tears.

HARTFORD, Conn. — The Connecticut Department of Public Health said at least 25 cases of Pseudomonas aeruginosa have been reported in Connecticut. The bacteria commonly found in health care facilities.

Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a bacterial infection of the eye tied to certain brands of artificial tears.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention along with the Food and Drug Administration is recommending clinicians and patients stop using EzriCare and Delsam Pharma’s Artificial Tears products.

68 cases have been reported nationwide. Though Pseudomonas is not new, this is the first time a drug-resistant strain has been detected in the United States.

“This particular organism is multi-dose resistant, resistant to different classes of antibiotics. The only way we can treat is if we take all these antibiotics together, creating a fortified compound to defeat this organism. It has to be caught early,” said Dr. Daniel Laroche, President of Advanced Eyecare of New York.

The Connecticut Department of Public Health has identified five healthcare facilities related to the outbreak. The CDC reported four people have had to have their eyes surgically removed and three deaths related to severe infection.

The states first case was reported in June 2022.

EzriCare and Delsam Pharma’s products are preservative free which removes an ingredient that would normally prevent bacterial growth and contamination.

Dr. Alan Solinsky, with Hartford HealthCare, recommends talking with your eye doctor before starting drops regularly and don’t use drops after they expire.

“Use a well-established brand. If you're not having any problems with it, continue to use that teardrop. Wash your hands before you use teardrops. Make sure that the tip doesn't touch your eye and get contaminated. If they are preservative-free drops use them that [same] day, “said Solinsky.

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If you experience symptoms see your eye doctor right away.
Eye infection symptoms may include:

  • Yellow, green, or clear discharge from the eye
  • Eye pain or discomfort
  • Redness of the eye or eyelid
  • Feeling of something in your eye (foreign body sensation)
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Blurry vision

The Connecticut Department of Public Health is conducting an ongoing investigation into the outbreak across the state. 

Jake Garcia is a multimedia journalist for FOX61 News. He can be reached at jgarcia@fox61.com. Follow him on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.


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