FDA advises not to purchase certain eye drops due to infection risk

FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen outside of FDA headquarters in White Oak, Maryland

(Reuters) -The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday warned consumers to not purchase or use certain eye drops from several brands, including CVS Health Corp and Cardinal Health, as they may cause eye infection and in some cases possible vision loss.

The agency recommended against the usage of 26 over-the-counter eye drop products mainly used to treat symptoms of dry eyes and provide relief against eye irritation.

The eye drops are marketed by CVS Health, Rite Aid, Cardinal Health, along with Target's up & up brand and Velocity Pharma, the FDA said in a statement. It has also asked the manufacturer to recall all lots of the product after its investigators found insanitary conditions in the manufacturing facility.

FDA said using certain eye care products from the brands it flagged could result in partial vision loss or blindness. However, as of now, it has not received any "adverse event reports" of eye infection associated with these products, the agency said.

CVS, Rite Aid and Target are removing the products from their store shelves and websites, according to the FDA. It also said that products branded as Leader, Rugby and Velocity may still be available to purchase in stores and online and advised against purchasing them.

"Upon receiving notification by the FDA, we've (CVS) immediately stopped the sale in-store and online of all products supplied by Velocity Pharma," the drugstore chain said in an emailed statement to Reuters, adding that it will provide a full refund to customers returning the product.

Cardinal Health and Velocity Pharma did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

FDA recommended consumers to properly discard these products, and advised patients who have signs or symptoms of an eye infection after using these products to talk to their health care provider or seek medical care immediately.

FDA earlier this month warned eight companies, including CVS and Walgreens Boots Alliance, against manufacturing or marketing unapproved eye products.

(Reporting by Mrinmay Dey in Bengaluru and Surbhi Misra; Editing by Leslie Adler and Shri Navaratnam)