A 68-year-old Florida woman is suing an eye drop company after their product caused an infection that required the surgical removal of her eye.
Clara Oliva had been regularly using the now-recalled EzriCare Artificial Tears when she developed a rare bacterial infection in her eye. The only course of treatment was for the eye to be completely removed. Oliva is now registered as legally blind.
The lawsuit claims that Oliva began using the EzriCare Artificial Tears in May of 2022. Just months later, her right eye became “red, swollen, and abnormally watery.”
The infection that followed resulted in a corneal ulcer and loss of vision.
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“Given the severity of the infection in Mrs. Oliva’s right eye, the exhaustion of treatment methods, and the risk of the infection spreading systematically creating a life-threatening condition, it was determined that an enucleation of Mrs. Oliva’s right eye was the best option to control the severe antibiotic-resistant infection,” the suit read.
In September, Oliva’s right eye was surgically removed and replaced with a plastic implant. She was left with incredibly diminished eyesight capabilities in her remaining eye.
Oliva’s attorney Natasha Cortes stated, “My client is horribly injured and now legally blind. I am currently investigating others similarly injured by this recalled product.”
“These companies must be held accountable for the devastating consequences their product has caused Mrs. Oliva and other consumers.”
Including Oliva, eight people have lost their vision after using the same eye drops. Four of these individuals had to have their eyes removed, and one died from the infection.
According to Cortes, because the eye drop product is preservative-free, it is more susceptible to bacterial contamination and subsequent infection.
“It doesn’t contain preservatives, which are used to fight bacterial contamination,” said Cortes. “There’s likely many more people who have suffered infections who are unaware like Ms. Oliva was.”
Commenting on her drastically-different lifestyle since the rare infection, Oliva said, “I’ve always been independent. I’ve always worked. My life has changed 1000%.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a warning about the bacterial infection in January, telling the public to stop using EzriCare Artificial Tears.
The CDC assured the public that it is a rare infection, despite 68 people being diagnosed across just 16 US states.
Those who were affected by the eyedrops reported blindness, respiratory infections, urinary tract infections, and other ailments.