Dozens of TikTok videos claim rubbing castor oil over the eyelids, eyelashes, and under the eyes could help treat numerous conditions.
Applying the oil has been said to remedy dryness, floaters, cataracts, poor vision and glaucoma.
One woman claimed that after two weeks of use, she doesn’t need to wear reading glasses as often.
Dr Ashley Brissette, a spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology, commented on the viral videos.
“Castor oil is not a cure-all,” said Dr Brissette. “If you have concerns about your eyes, you need to see an optician.”
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The oil is “not going to seep in and dissolve or fix anything”, according to the medical expert.
Dr Brissette said she can’t recommend castor oil for the treatment of dry eye and blepharitis.
Current studies in this area are of low quality, involving small sample sizes and no control groups.
Dr Vicki Chan, a practising optician in Los Angeles, added that castor oil will have no effect on conditions that affect the inside of the eyes.
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How to combat dry eyes
The NHS has five top recommendations to ease dry eyes, which are to:
- Clean your eyelids every day
- Take breaks to rest your eyes when using a computer screen
- Make sure your computer screen is just below eye level
- Use a humidifier to stop the air from getting dry
If you wear contact lenses, take them out and wear glasses to rest your eyes.
Additional tips include:
- Do not smoke or drink too much alcohol
- Do not spend too long in smoky, dry or dusty places
- Do not spend too long in air-conditioned or heated rooms.
A pharmacist can assist you with choosing eye drops, gels, or ointments to help with dry eyes.
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As for the other eye conditions, do book an appointment with an optometrist to check the health of your eyes and to discuss any concerns.
The health body recommends everybody, regardless if there are concerns or not, should book an eye test every two years.
It says: “Your eyes rarely hurt when something is wrong with them.
“So having regular eye tests is important to help detect potentially harmful conditions.”
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