Your eyes are a very important yet highly sensitive part of your body, so they need to be treated with the greatest level of care! This is especially true when your eyes are already irritated or fighting a disease; in these cases, taking care of them correctly is essential so that you don’t make the situation even worse. This holds true in the case with dry eye disease; compounds that are too harsh or irritating can exacerbate any inflammation that is causing dry eye symptoms, compounding the problem rather than solving it.
Many pharmaceuticals come with an array of unpleasant side effects, and can be quite costly; therefore, using natural products to address various health conditions has been gaining popularity. Certainly, there are many benefits to using natural solutions for conditions such as dry eye, but you must be careful which one you choose. While home-made remedies may seem appealing they are not always as safe or effective as some may claim them to be.
Coconut Oil – Does it Really Help?
Coconut oil is currently being used by some people as a natural lubricant and tear film protectant. There are eye drops available which contain coconut oil, but some people prefer warming the oil itself until it is watery, and applying it directly to their eyes. While it may feel soothing initially, putting substances not specifically designed for ocular use, on your eyes, can result in infection, irritation or damage to your eyes. In the case of coconut oil, the extra oils can also clog the glands in your eyelids and further aggravate your dry eye. Research on the use of coconut oil for addressing conditions affecting the eyes is currently very limited. While initial studies indicate that eye drops containing coconut oil are safe to use, there is no evidence that they offer any benefits over other dry eye products.1
Manuka Honey – Should You Make Your Own Mixture?
As Manuka honey has been found to be an effective additive to eye drops and creams for addressing dry eye, some people are starting to make homemade mixtures with raw honey. Manuka honey comes from bees that have foraged nectar from blossoms of the tea tree. Eye drops with Manuka honey have been found to help with symptoms of dry eye, though the eye may temporarily sting or become red after applying.2 As in the case of coconut oil, however, attempting to make your own drops with food-grade honey can result in infection or irritation to your eyes.
A Safer Way to Go Natural
The best approach to natural products is to find one that is produced under rigorous guidelines for quality. The best natural products have been optimized with a safe, effective concentration of the important compounds, while leaving out other potentially harmful ingredients. For example, while tea tree oil has been shown to have positive effects for conditions such as dry eye, there are certain components of tea tree oil that can be irritating to the eyes with long-term use. That’s why Cliradex has formulated their facial cleanser and towelettes using only the most important component of tea tree oil, 4-terpineol. Other components of tea tree oil that could be irritating to the delicate eye area, have been left out of their products; therefore, Cliradex facial cleanser and towelettes provide better hygiene than tea tree oil while being safe to use long-term.3
- Mutalib HA, Kaur S, Ghazali AR, Chinn Hooi N, Safie NH. A pilot study: the efficacy of virgin coconut oil as ocular rewetting agent on rabbit eyes. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM. 2015;2015:135987.
- Albietz JM, Schmid KL. Randomised controlled trial of topical antibacterial Manuka (Leptospermum species) honey for evaporative dry eye due to meibomian gland dysfunction. Clinical & experimental optometry. 2017;100(6):603-615.
3. Tighe S, Gao YY, Tseng SC. Terpinen-4-ol is the Most Active Ingredient of Tea Tree Oil to Kill Demodex Mites. Translational vision science & technology. 2013;2(7):2.