Skip to Content
Matthews & Associates Matthews & Associates
Preventing Pseudomonas Aeruginosa Infections from Artificial Tears Timely Insights on Laws, Issues and New Developements


Artificial tears may be a good way to keep your eyes moisturized, but you may have heard that there were recent recalls of Delsam and Ezricare brands, as they have a risk of causing infection from a bacterium known as Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Several people have been blinded by this bacteria, and as of March of 2023 there had been three deaths linked to artificial tears.

The use of contaminated artificial tears may place individuals at risk for contracting Pseudomonas Aeruginosa infections. In some cases, depending on the severity of infection, additional treatments such as antibiotics may be required to eliminate the infection.

What are Artificial Tears?

Artificial tears are a type of eye drop used to lubricate and moisten dry eyes. These drops come in both over the counter and prescription formulations, with additional ingredients that vary depending on product. Artificial tears provide relief from uncomfortable symptoms such as dryness, grittiness, burning and stinging. For those with chronic dry eyes, artificial tears are an essential part of their eye care regimen.

However, some healthcare professionals have raised questions about the use of artificial tears and the risk of Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection. Despite evidence pointing to a potential negative correlation between the use of artificial tears and infection from P. aeruginosa, the exact mechanism by which the bacteria is potentially introduced is still unknown. Studies suggest that either pre-existing biofilm on vials or contamination caused during product manufacturing could be contributing factors.

Given the unknown nature of this association, further research is needed. It’s important for all patients to weigh the potential health benefits and risks when deciding whether to use artificial tears on a regular basis.

How Do Artificial Tears Cause Infection?

Artificial tears, used to help lubricate a dry eye and act as a supplementary tear film, are believed to be safe and contain minimal amounts of acidity and pH levels in the range that generally discourages bacterial growth. However, the use of artificial tears has been associated with a risk of infection. Although studies have reported that bio-contamination of preserved artificial tear solutions is rare, it is still possible to occur due to potential immune suppression from its prolonged usage.

The risk is mainly found in multi dose containers since contamination can grow without any symptoms and increase over time. Generally, if the artificial tears are administered properly according to direction such as ensuring the container tip does not come in contact with eyes or other parts of the face and hands while taking out doses, they usually pose minimal risk factor when used correctly amongst healthy individuals. In contrast, an individual with a weak immune system is at higher risk when using artificial tears due to their impaired ability to fight against bacterial infection by contaminated packaging or sanitation issues such as dirty water droppers or tools (either through contamination form previous user or improper cleaning).

Therefore, it is important for individuals using artificial tears to be aware of both safety and hygiene standards in order to reduce their risk for pseudomonas aeruginosa infections from artificial tears. By understanding common risk factors associated with these types of infections and maintaining healthy practices during application can not only keep infection away but provide better user experiences overall.

Common Risk Factors for Pseudomonas Aeruginosa Infections from Artificial Tears

The use of artificial tears has been found to be one of the key risk factors in the development of Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections. It is important to be aware of the many common risk factors associated with the misuse of these products. Certain cases can even lead to devastating endophthalmitis and vision loss if left untreated.

Of particular concern is the use of prolonged topical ocular medications, as it can create an environment conducive to bacterial growth. Some researchers argue that any use of preservatives found in artificial tears can reduce antibiotic efficacy, making them capable of sustaining the growth and proliferation of microorganisms like Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Meanwhile, others posit that the preservatives used within artificial tear products can actually inhibit bacterial growth, leading to fewer infections overall. Either way, studies suggest that caution should be taken when using these products over extended periods due to an increase in infection risk.

It is also important to note that contact lens wearer face a greater risk for developing a Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection from artificial tears than non-contact lens wearers. This is because contact lenses are more prone to harboring and facilitating bacterial growth since they are inherently exposed to more eye surface area and typically involve longer durations of wear time – which leaves the lens closer to mucosal structures and contributes to increasing microbial contamination. Wearing contact lenses overnight or extending their wearing time beyond what is recommended may also raise the likelihood of introducing pathogens into the ocular environment, leading to further complications.

In summary, caution should be taken when using any type of artificial tear product due its potential role in causing Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections; especially if used together with contact lenses and over long periods of time.

Amount of Artificial Tears Used

One of the most notable risk factors associated with Pseudomonas Aeruginosa infections from artificial tears lies in the amount used. Health care providers and patients need to consider the balance between utilizing enough artificial tear drops to alleviate symptoms from dry eyes and being exposed to Pseudomonas Aeruginosa infections. Using too little artificial tears for symptom relief may leave a patient still suffering from dry eye related symptoms and potentially looking for other treatment avenues; however, using too much of the product increases the risk for infection due to higher amounts of bacteria entering the eye. Studies have shown that higher dosages can result in increased risk for infection even when the product has been preservative-free [1].

This debate brings up two sides of this particular risk factor: Too little vs. too much artificial tears. More conservative approaches may advise that less is better, while others argue in favor of identifying an appropriate balance between symptom relief and reduced risk of infection.

Often times, bacteria can enter through disturbed ocular barriers which are overexposed, irritated or subject to unusual levels of rubbing. Thus, utilizing enough artificial tears can contribute to repairing any damage done through overuse or sensitivity, while also avoiding overdosing and subsequently increasing Pseudomonas Aeruginosa infection rates. To minimize these risks, it is important for health care providers and patients alike to be mindful about balancing between symptom relief and avoiding overusing artificial tears.

Understanding how much artificial tear solution to use is critical in protecting against potential complications from buildup, irritation and most importantly, Pseudomonas Aeruginosa infections.

How to Avoid Pseudomonas Aeruginosa Infections from Artificial Tears

The amount of artificial tears an individual should use to help prevent Pseudomonas Aeruginosa infections is still up for debate. Though many believe that using more tears can help reduce infection, others don’t consider the extra volume of tears useful in helping protect against Pseudomonas. A study conducted by the National Institutes of Health discovered that the use of larger volumes of preservative-free single-dose artificial tears does not increase tear evaporation or reduce cases of infections1. Therefore, it may be more beneficial to follow the health care provider’s suggested dosage, as too much artificial tears may not have any additional benefit and could even come with an increased risk for infection due to oversaturation.

Since every patient’s needs are different, it is important for individuals to take direction from their clinicians in terms of dosing, prescribing ointments, eyedrops or other products which will help reduce bacterial population on the ocular surface. Moving forward with this in mind, it is key to discuss next how using the health care provider’s recommended solutions and gels can further minimize instances of Pseudomonas Aeruginosa infection.

[1 ]

Using the Health Care Provider’s Recommended Solutions and Gels

Using the health care provider’s recommended solutions and gels is one way to potentially prevent Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections from artificial tears. In general, health care providers are the most knowledgeable when it comes to artificial tears- they can recommend the best choice of brands, help diagnose potential infections, and guide a patient through proper usage. Most people should follow their healthcare provider’s advice if they are concerned about preventing Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections from artificial tears.

On one hand, many people may argue that following the health care provider’s advice is the surest path towards preventing infection as long as patients follow the instructions properly. For example, a 2017 randomized control trial found that adults following their ophthalmologist’s guidance on using over-the-counter preserved artificial tear solution experienced fewer symptoms of dry eye than participants using an unpreserved solution (Mille & Melki, 2017). Similarly, US FDA Safety Alerts from 2020 continually suggest that patients should use products “exactly as prescribed by their healthcare provider and adhere to scheduled follow ups” (US FDA 2020).

On the other hand, others might agree that it is important to receive medical advice but question whether it is wise for healthcare providers to be solely responsible for prescribing medications. As with any product, commercial brands may differ in quality; prescriptions may not always guarantee better outcomes or fewer side effects. It is important for patients to undergo proper education on how to make well-informed decisions regarding treatments and medication usage in order to have better control of their own health.

In conclusion, while healthcare providers can typically be trusted to provide accurate advice when it comes to artificial tears, patients should not be completely reliant on them. It may still be beneficial to do independent research in order to make informed decisions on possible treatments and medications usage.

Frequently Asked Questions

What treatments are available for Pseudomonas Aeruginosa infections from artificial tears?

The treatment for Pseudomonas Aeruginosa infections from artificial tears depends on the severity of the infection. For mild cases, doctors may simply suggest using a preservative-free artificial tear containing antibiotic solution within the eye to reduce bacteria growth. For more serious cases, topical antibiotics may also be prescribed. Other treatment options such as topical corticosteroids, cycloplegics, and topical anti-inflammatory agents may also be recommended to help reduce pressure in the affected area. Additionally, oral antibiotics may be prescribed if the infection does not respond to topical treatments. It is important to note that some cases of Pseudomonas Aeruginosa bacterial infections can be resistant to certain antibiotics so close monitoring of the infected area by your doctor is important.

What are the common symptoms of Pseudomonas Aeruginosa infections related to artificial tears?

Pseudomonas Aeruginosa infections related to artificial tears can result in a number of symptoms, including redness and swelling of the eye, excessive tearing and watery eyes, eye pain, a feeling of having something in the eye (“foreign body sensation”), itching, blurred vision, and discharge from the eye. In more severe cases, the infection can result in a yellowish-green discharge with dead cells in it. This can be accompanied by more severe itching and burning sensations as well as ulceration of the cornea. Additionally, it is possible to experience a severe headache as well as fever if the infection spreads beyond the eye or if one develops an allergic reaction to the Pseudomonas Aeruginosa.

How can Pseudomonas Aeruginosa infections from artificial tears be prevented?

The most effective way to prevent Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections from artificial tears is to ensure proper hygiene and sterile technique when using eye drops. This means using freshly opened, unused containers of the drops, washing hands before and after use, and not sharing the eye drops with anyone else. Additionally, take precautions when swimming in pools or hot tubs. Wear goggles when swimming and disinfect them periodically with a dilute solution of bleach or other disinfectants. Finally, if you are using contact lenses, it is important to clean them regularly according to manufacturer’s instructions, as bacteria can accumulate on the lenses and may lead to an infection.



Nationwide Legal Representation

  • Please enter your first name.
  • Please enter your last name.
  • Please enter your phone number.
    This isn't a valid phone number.
  • Please enter your email address.
    This isn't a valid email address.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter a message.
  • By submitting, you agree to be contacted about your request & other information using automated technology. Message frequency varies. Msg & data rates may apply. Text STOP to cancel. Acceptable Use Policy
Locations (By Appt. Only)
Follow Us