SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned consumers against the use of 27 over-the-counter eyedrop products due to a risk of infection.
You can see a full list of the products in the link above.
“The FDA essentially put out a warning to a handful of drops,” said Brent Kramer, eye surgeon at Vance Thompson Vision. “Some of the bigger names are the Target brand drops, the Equate brand — CVS, Rite-Aid.”
No illnesses/injuries have been tied to the drops so far. Kramer explained.
“The FDA — they do environmental sampling where they set out little petri dishes or sample parts of the machinery that’s critical to making these medications,” said Kramer. In this sampling, he says the FDA found bacteria on things that should be sterile, triggering the warning. “There’s a chance those drops could be contaminated with bacteria.”
Kramer said the primary risk with this discovery is an eye infection. “The big one we worry about is a corneal ulcer, or an infection on the cornea,” he explained. “The cornea is the clear windshield of the eye — if you get an infection on that part of the eye, it can cause scarring and vision loss.”
This scarring can be reversed in some cases, but Kamer says if this infection is caught early, permanent scarring can be avoided.
To catch things early, there are symptoms to look out for.
“The things yo need to be looking out for are red eye, eye pain, decreased vision, blurriness and light sensitivity,” said Kramer, noting that these are symptoms that should often prompt a visit to the eye doctor anyway.
If you have one of the listed eye drop products, throw them out. Kramer says that in lieu of these products, you should head to your local pharmacy for a new product.
“Most of the time local pharmacies are awesome about carrying a handful of different eye drops,” said Kramer, who recommends going to the counter to discuss the products in order to get what is best for you.
“I personally use a Refresh drop or a Sustain drop for an artificial tear,” Kramer said. You can order online, he added, but urged that you should get a familiar brand.
One thing not to do: wash your eyes out with tap water.
“Do not put tap water into your eyes. It’s not good for them,” said Kramer. “Do not use it to clean your contacts either. There’s a lot of different bugs in tap water.”
The only time Kramer says you should use tap water is in an emergency where you need to wash something out of your eyes and it is the only option.