CVS, Rite Aid, and Target Eye Drops Pulled Because of Blindness Risk, FDA Warns
The products were also marketed under the Leader, Rugby, and Velocity Pharma brands.
Few things are worse than dry, irritated, or itchy eyes, which can leave you uncomfortable or even impact your ability to see. That's why so many of us keep eye drops in our medicine cabinets or travel bags to alleviate pain in a pinch. But now, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is issuing an alert about certain eye drops from major brands like Target, Rite Aid, and CVS Health, which may cause eye infections—and potentially lead to partial vision loss or blindness. Read on to find out which drops the agency is asking you to stop using immediately.
Certain products were pulled, but others may still be available to buy.
In an Oct. 27 alert, the FDA warned customers not to purchase or use 26 over-the-counter (OTC) eye drop products marketed under the CVS Health, Leader (Cardinal Health), Rugby (Cardinal Health), Rite Aid, Target Up&Up, and Velocity Pharma brands.
According to the FDA, as of Oct. 27, CVS, Rite Aid, and Target were actively removing the products from shelves and websites, but products branded as Leader, Rugby, and Velocity may still be available and should not be purchased. A full list of impacted products can be found in the FDA alert.
The FDA found unsanitary conditions at the drug manufacturing facility.
Concerns arose when FDA investigators found unsanitary conditions at the manufacturing facility and "positive bacterial test results from environmental sampling of critical drug production areas in the facility."
The agency didn't provide additional details on the bacteria that were detected in the drug production areas, but explained that affected eye drops can potentially cause "eye infections that could result in partial vision loss or blindness." On Oct. 25, the FDA recommended that the product manufacturer recall all lots of the eye drops from this facility.
Per the alert, ophthalmic drug products must be sterile because they're applied to the eyes and "bypass some of the body's natural defenses," posing an increased risk for users.
Seek medical attention if you show signs of an eye infection.
The FDA hadn't received any reports of infection connected to the products at the time of the alert, but urged people with signs or symptoms of eye infection after using these products to "talk to their health care provider or seek medical care immediately."
According to Cleveland Clinic, there are several different kinds of eye infections, which can occur in one or both eyes. Early symptoms include red eyes, itching or irritation, eye pain, watery eyes, and swelling. Later signs and symptoms can include discharge from the eyes, eyelashes that stick together because of discharge, sensitivity to light, blurred vision, and fever.
The FDA asks that you dispose of the eye drops.
If you do have these products at home, the FDA asks you to get rid of them safely. Per the agency's page on disposing of medication, you can do so by taking it to a drug tack back site or checking if it's on the FDA's "flush list" to see if you can empty it in the toilet at home.
If you experience an adverse event, the FDA also asks that you report it to the MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online or via fax.
- Source: https://www.fda.gov/drugs/drug-safety-and-availability/fda-warns-consumers-not-purchase-or-use-certain-eye-drops-several-major-brands-due-risk-eye
- Source: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/25000-eye-infection
- Source: https://www.fda.gov/drugs/safe-disposal-medicines/disposal-unused-medicines-what-you-should-know
- Source: https://www.fda.gov/drugs/disposal-unused-medicines-what-you-should-know/drug-disposal-fdas-flush-list-certain-medicines
- Source: https://www.fda.gov/safety/medwatch-fda-safety-information-and-adverse-event-reporting-program