A Japanese cataract patient was left fighting for his life after developing respiratory failure from his eye drops, a bizarre case report has revealed.
They fear he was allergic to levofloxacin, one of the most widely used anti-microbial eye drops in the world, marketed as Oftaquix in the UK.
Less severe side effects of the drug are known – but respiratory failure, which can be fatal, is not listed as a potential reaction to levofloxacin.
Documenting the tale in a journal, medics at the University of Yamanashi said: ‘This is the first reported case of drug-induced lung injury due to levofloxacin eye drops.
‘Levofloxacin ophthalmic solution is one of the most widely used eye drops in the world, and adverse effects are mostly local reactions.’
The man had been given the eye drops the day before his cataract surgery to slash his risk of an infection from the surgery.
But three days after the procedure on both of his eyes, which proved a success, he complained of difficulty breathing and a fever.
His condition rapidly worsened and various medical tests showed that his liver and kidneys were slowly beginning to deteriorate.
Doctors initially feared he was battling pneumonia and sepsis and so the man was rushed to intensive care and put on a ventilator.
WHO IS CATARACT SURGERY OFFERED TO IN ENGLAND?
Thousands of patients will be offered cataract surgery under the first national guidelines to end the ‘lottery’ in treatment, it was revealed last August.
In a victory for the Mail, the health watchdog announced that patients should be offered help as soon as their quality of life is impaired.
NHS trusts were also told to abandon the sight tests which mean many are refused surgery until they are nearly blind.
And they were instructed to offer surgery for both eyes at once, rather than only for the one which is worse.
Officials wanted to end the shameful postcode lottery which has led to many sufferers being denied the straightforward 30-minute operations.
As many as half of the over-65s have cataracts – some 4.5million adults in England. They occur when the eye becomes cloudy with age.
Yet before the move, patients in some areas of the country are four times as likely to be offered corrective surgery than those living elsewhere.
This is due to irrational rules set by most NHS trusts which state patients can only have treatment if their sight has deteriorated below a certain level.
Many sufferers had been told they still do not qualify for surgery despite being unable to read without a magnifying glass, drive or recognise friends’ faces.
The guidelines from watchdog Nice – due in October – were a huge victory for the Mail, which has long campaigned against the current unfair system.