How honey can help your dry eye
Manuka honey (Optimel drops) has long been known and used for its medicinal properties and in ancient Egyptian times was incorporated in most medicines. The last 100 years it has been well accepted as a treatment alternative in the management of chronic ulcers and burns. Honey from the Australian and New Zealand Leptospermum species (Manuka, tea tree or jelly bush) is the most widely used honey in clinical studies as it has consistently been found to have the greatest level of antibacterial activity.
More lately there have been several articles published about the application of Manuka honey for ocular conditions such as dry eye and meibomian gland dysfunction. Featuring a low pH and high sugar content, Manuka honey is both antibacterial and hyperosmotic. It reduces bacterial flora and also reduces fluid that has accumulated in corneas suffering from corneal oedema due to conditions such as Fuchs' corneal dystrophy. The reduction in bacterial flora helps treat eyelid conditions such as dry eye secondary to blepharitis and meibomian gland dysfunction.
The downside is that Manuka honey stings upon insertion - a lot. This lasts 30-60 seconds. Some people find that the stinging lessens with use however others find that the stinging becomes intolerable. We tend to first place a trial drop of Manuka honey in patients eyes to see if they can tolerate the temporary irritation.
Manuka honey is marketed as Optimel drops and is available in two strengths. The original Optimel drops are 980mg/g and very viscous - more like a gel. It tends to sting more on insertion and should only be used after consultation with us. Most patients use it 1-2 times daily. The more recently released Optimel drops are 160mg/g and less viscous. They tend to not sting as much and are generally used 3 times daily.
Optimel is yet another tool to aid blepharitis and dry eye sufferers.
Do not use Optimel Manuka if you are allergic to honey.
We carry Optimel at the practice so make an appointment to see us to determine if you are a candidate.