Clara Olivia (WPLG screenshot)

Clara Olivia (WPLG screenshot)

A 68-year-old grandmother in Florida has filed a lawsuit claiming that she is now legally blind after her right eye had to be surgically removed due to a bacterial infection caused by over-the-counter eyedrops.

The suit, filed last week in Miami-Dade County on behalf of Clara Oliva, claims that “Ezricare Artificial Tears” are preservative-free lubricant eyedrops designed to protect against eye irritation and redness. However, because the Product is “preservative free,” chemicals used to prevent the growth of bacteria have been removed and caused Oliva to contract a drug-resistant infection resulting in the loss of her eye, according to the complaint.

Oliva had been obtaining and using Bausch & Lomb lubricant eyedrops for several years until her insurer, HealthSpring, in May 2022 switched brands and began authorizing EzriCare Artificial Tears, the suit states. She used the new drops for several months until her right eye — in which she previously had no issues — suddenly became “red, swollen, and abnormally watery.”

She was diagnosed with a “corneal scratch” by her doctors at the Leon Medical Center and prescribed a drug regimen, but her symptoms continued to worsen and the visual acuity in her right eye began deteriorating, the complaint states.

Leon Medical, HealthSpring, and EzriCare are all named defendants in the negligent product liability suit. Global Pharma Healthcare, an India-based company that manufactured the drops, and two companies involved in the distribution and selling of the product are also named defendants.

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