Why Is the Bacteria in Eye Drops Spreading to People Have Not Used Them?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the bacteria that caused the EzriCare eye drop recall can spread from person to person. This article will examine how this bacteria is transmitted and how to stay safe.

How does the drug-resistant bacteria spread?

Benjamin Bert, MD, a MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center ophthalmologist, said a major transmission mode is direct contact with an infected person. He also said the bacteria could spread when you touch contaminated items or products. These include eye drop bottles, pillowcases, or makeup products for infected persons.

In rare cases, you can get the Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria from contact with a contaminated surface after an infected person touches it.

What Happens If You Are Infected with Eye Drop Bacteria?

If you get infected second-hand with Pseudomonas aeruginosa, you might not see any symptoms. However, Bert said there is a chance you experience symptoms similar to someone who was initially infected. Some reactions include:

● Eye irritation

● Eye soreness

● Eye discharge

● Decreased vision

● Sensitivity to light

● Redness of the eye

Who Is Exposed to the Most Risk?

Generally, people admitted to healthcare facilities have the highest risk of getting infected. Martha Sharan, a spokesperson for CDC’s Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion, said case patients had been identified at long-term care facilities, emergency departments, and acute care hospitals across 16 states.

Bert said patients in assisted living facilities and nursing homes are also at higher risk. This is because they often need direct contact and care from different staff members. However, this also means staff members and caregivers in these places have the same risk level.

If you are exposed to the bacteria outside a healthcare center but are otherwise a healthy individual, Sharan said the risk of clinical infection is small.

How to Prevent the Bacteria Spread

To prevent Pseudomonas aeruginosa from spreading, you can do the following:

● Wash your hands regularly with soap and water.

● Use latex or non-latex medical-grade gloves to administer drops to someone else.

● Wash any contaminated items, such as blankets, pillowcases, and towels.

● Clean shared surfaces like countertops and door handles with disinfectants.

● Avoid sharing personal items that may touch the face or eye, including pillows.


The Pseudomonas aeruginosa might spread through physical contact, but you can protect yourself against it. With our recommendations, you can live a healthy and infection-free life.