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Drug-resistant bacteria linked to recalled eye drops costs fire captain sight in one eye

3 deaths linked to recalled eye drops
Three deaths linked to recalled eye drops 02:09

Three people have died and eight others have lost their vision as a result of drug-resistant bacteria infections linked to recalled eye drops, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC is warning against using EzriCare and Delsam Pharma artificial tears, which have been recalled due to the outbreak.

Adam Di Sarro is a fire captain in Naples, Florida, who for years used artificial tears for dryness in his left eye. He never had a problem until last fall. 

"The redness came on, the irritation came on, a lot of itching, and it was abnormal," Di Sarro said. "It just progressively got worse, to the point where I couldn't even see within a few hours."

Unable to treat the problem with antibiotics, doctors feared Di Sarro would lose his eye.

"That was hard," he told CBS News. "And is still hard because I'm still not at work, going on five months."

The CDC is investigating a nationwide outbreak of the antibiotic-resistant bacteria — Pseudomonas aeruginosa — which has infected 68 people in 16 states. 

Dr. Guillermo Amescua of the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Miami treated Di Sarro with an experimental light treatment that finally killed the infection.

Amescua said that anyone who notices something wrong while using artificial tears should see their eye care provider as soon as possible.

Di Sarro is suing for negligence and hopes that surgery will restore sight in his left eye. Neither EzriCare nor Amazon, where Disarro purchased the eye drops, would comment.

Symptoms from the infection can include pain, discharge, redness, light sensitivity and blurry vision, according to the CDC.

To use eye drops safely in general, people should wash their hands and keep the tip of the bottle sterile.

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