MIAMI (WSVN) - There have been more deaths and infections linked to a brand of eye drops. One woman who contracted the same infection at a spa in Thailand now has a warning.
Speaking with 7News on Thursday, Sigal Konig said getting help quickly when initially experiencing symptoms is the key to saving your sight.
“I saw the name pseudomonas, and my heart stopped, and I’m like, ‘Wow, these people are going through this,'” she Konig said.
Konig said she survived Pseudomonas Aeruginosa, a bacteria recently found in contaminated eye drops that has sickened, blinded and killed people in 16 states, including Florida.
“It was very emotional, emotional time for me,” Konig said.
The first grade teacher told her story to encourage anyone with symptoms to get help immediately.
“They have to act fast,” she said.
Her infection happened in 2019. At the time, her home was in Israel, but she took a job as a teacher in Thailand for a few months.
“I wanted to just have a fun day, you know, pamper myself, and I found a local spa, and I walked in, and I got a facial done,” Konig said, “and that was the beginning of my hell.”
Not long after her spa visit, her left eye became extremely sensitive and painful. After nearly three days in bed, she decided it was time to take action.
“I’m like, ‘Take me to the hospital now,'” she said.
Konig said the doctor who looked into her eye was frightened by what he saw.
“He holds his chair down, he’s like, ‘Where have you been?’ I’m like, ‘I was just in Thailand,'” Konig said. “‘You have a very rare bacteria right now in your eye that is currently eating your eye.’ That’s all he said.”
She would spend two weeks in the hospital with someone by her side every second of the day and night who put drops into her eyes in order to fight the bacteria.
Konig said the doctor told her he has no doubt that she picked up the bacteria at the spa in Thailand.
The recent outbreak in the U.S. is related to EzriCare Artificial Tears.
The now recalled drops were manufactured by Global Pharma Healthcare in India and were sold in pharmacies across the country.
As of mid-March, 68 patients have been infected by contaminated drops, three people have died and eight people lost their vision. Four of those who lost their vision had to have their eyeballs removed.
“My eyes were saved, my vision was saved because I was fast,” Konig said. “There’s no time to waste.”
If you have used Ezri-Care or Delsam Pharma’s artificial tears and have experienced any problems with your eyes like burning eyes or blurry vision, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is also urging you to get help from a doctor immediately.
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