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The Dangers of Using Contaminated Eye Drops and How to Protect Yourself

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Several companies have recently recalled their eye drops due to contamination concerns. Contaminated eye drops can present several risks—including the risk of a fatal bacterial infection in some cases. As a result, any one who uses eye drops should check to see if their eye drops are subject to a recall; and, if so, they should stop use immediately.

Health Risks Associated with Contaminated Eye Drops

The health risks associated with contaminated eye drops range from mild eye pain and blurred vision to potentially life-threatening infections. As a result, all potential symptoms need to be taken very seriously. This includes symptoms such as:

Eye Pain

Eye pain is often one of the first symptoms of a bacterial infection caused by contaminated eye drops. Generally speaking, eye drops should not cause pain. As a result, if you experience pain when using eye drops, you should stop using them right away.

Blurred Vision

Contaminated eye drops can also cause blurred vision. While non-contaminated eye drops can cause blurred vision as well, this is usually only very temporary. If your vision remains blurred for more than a few minutes—and especially if your vision remains blurred for days or weeks—this could be a sign of an eye infection caused by contamination.

Increased Sensitivity to Light

With infections caused by contaminated eye drops, eye pain and blurred vision are often accompanied by increased sensitivity to light. However, some eye drop users may experience increased sensitivity without other symptoms as well.


Redness is a common sign of infection in all parts of the body, including the eye. If you notice that your eyes (or eyelids) are red after using eye drops, you should consult with a doctor promptly.

Discharge from the Eye

A clear, green or yellow discharge from the eye after using eye drops can also be a sign of contamination. Similar to the other symptoms listed above, while discharge may be a person’s only symptom initially, it will most often be accompanied by other effects. In any case, the cause of discharge from the eye following the administration of eye drops should be diagnosed promptly.

Foreign Body Sensation

Many people who contract bacterial infections from contaminated eye drops will also experience foreign body sensation. With foreign body sensation, it feels like something is in your eye, even though there is nothing there. This is a telltale sign that medical treatment may be necessary.

While these symptoms may go away with treatment (i.e., administration of anti-bacterial medications) once the use of contaminated eye drops has stopped, individuals who experience these symptoms may also find their condition worsening. If left untreated, bacterial infections caused by contaminated eye drops can potentially lead to medical consequences including (but not limited to):

Permanent Vision Loss

Bacterial infections caused by contaminated eye drops can spread quickly; and, if not treated promptly, they can potentially lead to permanent vision loss. This vision loss can be either partial or total. Loss of peripheral vision, or the onset of “tunnel vision,” is a sign that immediate medical intervention may be required.  

Surgical Eye Removal

Severe bacterial infections can also necessitate surgical removal of the eye in some cases. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at least for patients have had to have an eye surgically removed after using contaminated eye drops.

Untimely Death

The CDC has also reported at least four cases of contaminated eye drop use resulting in fatal bacterial infections. Infections are most likely to be fatal when they spread beyond the eye to other parts of the body, which can happen if eye drop users are not aware of the risk of contamination and the need to promptly address the symptoms listed above.

How to Protect Yourself if Your Eye Drops are Contaminated

If you are concerned that you may have used contaminated eye drops, you can check to see if your eye drops have been recalled through the FDA’s website. However, it is important to note that the FDA is continuing to investigate, and there have been several recalls over the past year. As a result, even if your eye drops are not yet subject to a recall, there is still a possibility that they could be contaminated.

Along with checking for a recall, you should also see a doctor promptly. The effects of bacterial infections caused by contaminated eye drops can progress quickly, and they can be irreversible in some cases. If you have any concerns about your health after using potentially contaminated eye drops, you should not hesitate to seek a diagnosis.

Protecting Your Legal Rights if You or a Loved One Has Been Harmed by Contaminated Eye Drops

Individuals and families who are coping with the effects of contaminated eye drops may be entitled to significant financial compensation. Companies that sell dangerous and defective products can—and should—be held accountable, and those who have suffered life-altering infections or lost loved ones can seek financial compensation for their out-of-pocket expenses, loss of income, pain and suffering, and other losses.

Holding companies that sell dangerous and defective products accountable is extremely important, not only because it provides victims and their families with the financial resources they need to move on, but also because it helps reduce the likelihood that these companies will sell more dangerous products in the future. Hiring a lawyer to protect your legal rights costs nothing out of pocket, and you can get started with a free consultation 24/7.

Schedule a Free Consultation with a Contaminated Eye Drop Lawyer at Searcy Denney

If you would like to know more about filing a lawsuit for harm caused by contaminated eye drops, we encourage you to schedule a free consultation at Searcy Denney. We represent individuals and families nationwide.  To speak with an experienced contaminated eye drop lawyer in confidence as soon as possible, call 800-780-8607 or tell us how we can reach you online today.

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