Dry Eye Foundation Calls on Retailers to Address Rampant Sales of Potentially Unsafe Eye Drops

More than 50 “red flag” eye drops found on popular e-commerce marketplaces

POULSBO, Wash., May 4, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Dry Eye Foundation has identified more than 50 eye drops for sale online that raise safety flags, and has offered to help popular e-commerce platforms Amazon and Walmart address this growing problem. 27 out of 39 brands listed on the Foundation’s Product Alerts page at eyedropsafety.org are currently available for sale on Amazon, Walmart or both.

Eye drops are considered drugs. In order to be legally sold, each product must be registered with the Food and Drug Administration’s drug database and comply with various Federal safety regulations. Many smaller companies selling eye drops online are ignoring some, most, or all of these rules. “We’ve found counterfeits of national brands. We’ve found eye drops with no lot number, no expiration date, no ingredient list. We’ve found scary bottles. Every time I go online, I find more,” says Sandra Brown MD, Dry Eye Foundation’s medical advisor. “No one knows where or how they are made.”

While there are many unregistered drugs of concern, some registered drugs also violate basic safety rules. EzriCare Artificial Tears was a registered OTC drug, but was recently linked to three deaths and many cases of vision loss. It was preservative-free, but packaged in a bottle that allowed bacterial contamination after opening.

“These companies are exploiting the public’s trust in major online marketplaces,” says Rebecca Petris, the Foundation’s president. “In reality, what they are doing is the equivalent of selling off the back of a truck.” The Foundation recently approached e-commerce leadership at Amazon and Walmart, and hopes to draw their attention to the public health threat posed by unregistered eye drops sold illegally online.

The Dry Eye Foundation

The Dry Eye Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Poulsbo, Washington.

Its mission is to improve patients’ quality of life. The ocular surface diseases and ocular surface pain disorders that many patients face have profound functional, financial and emotional impact. Dry Eye Foundation is working to restore hope, redefine disease and reshape the future for people with these conditions, through its community service, education, research and advocacy programs.

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Aidan Moore
Rebecca Petris


SOURCE The Dry Eye Foundation