May 9, 2020 Update: I've since then switched over to honey eye drops! They work even better. I drove about 12 hours a day for work this past year and almost quit my job because of the eye strain. However, the honey drops were great at keeping my swelling down and my eyes well lubricated. Couldn't have done it without them! They have withstood the test of time. ^_^
So my sister tells me how great castor oil drops have been for treating dry eyes. My eyes are major dry too and so I thought I do a little research! Here we go! (Image: Eye by Peter Whiddon)
She sent me this link: http://svasthaayurveda.com/100-organic-castor-oil-eye-drops/ Very interesting read. I LOVED the whole idea of using a 100% natural product and how informative they are in the article.
So then I generalized my research to find the best oil for dry eyes and searched science articles through Google Scholar: https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C48&q=oil+drops+dry+eyes&btnG= I found out the oils mentioned in the first two pages worth of results are castor oil, mineral oil and other less common oils (eg "Oral Sea Buckthorn Oil").
I automatically discarded mineral oil because it's derived from petroleum and has been shown to have a ton of toxins. https://www.google.com/search?q=where+is+mineral+oil+derived+from
I also chose to disregard the less common oils because they're harder to find processed in an organic and cold pressed way. Castor oil on the other hand is a very common oil with a solid industry behind it.
It turns out there is actually an illness called "meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD)" where those glands are unable to produce the lipid / oil necessary for natural eye moisture. Several scientific studies have shown that castor oil is adequate for treating dry eyes:
"The results indicate that castor oil eye drops are effective and safe in the treatment of MGD. The possible mechanisms of this treatment are improvement of tear stability as a result of lipid spreading, ease of meibum expression, prevention of tear evaporation, and the lubricating effect of the oil eye drops."
"A randomized parallel, longitudinal, and investigator-masked study of the efficacy of 1.25% castor oil emulsion and 0.32% hypromellose solution was carried out... The oil-water emulsion was more effective in reducing tear evaporation than hypromellose after repeated application over a 1-month period. This finding signifies the potential of the emulsion in the management of evaporative dry eye."
So now that I was confident castor oil was the most trusted oil for dry eyes, I started looking for castor oil to purchase. These are my top picks:
OPTION 1: Give it a try. Comes with an eye dropper ready to go:
OPTION 2: Buy in bulk and share with your friends!
OPTION 3: Support a good cause:
SvasthaAyurveda are awesome folks. They're located in beautiful Boulder, CO, have all sorts of great products and a cool holistic blog. If you'd love to support their cause, you may also head on over here: http://svasthaayurveda.com/support-svastha-ayurveda/
Contraindications. Also from SvasthaAyurveda's product page:
"Generally, there are no side effects for castor oil eye drops. However, since we all have unique reactions to oils and herbs, it is always recommended to use only a small amount at the start. If any negative reaction does occur, discontinue use immediately.
If you are currently using a medicated eye drop other than the castor oil, it is highly recommended to either only use the castor oil (meaning discontinue the medicated eye drops if appropriate*), or allow an 8-12 hour gap between applications. Please do not use the castor oil eye drops with any other drops unless allowing at least 8 hours between applications. Please consult your doctor if there are any concerns. If a negative reaction does occur, discontinue use immediately.
*Please do not discontinue any prescription eye drops without consulting with your doctor first."
Directions. These are straight from SvasthaAyurveda's product page.
"Always make sure the eyes are clean, dry, and makeup-free. Tilt the head back slightly and apply 1-2 drops into each eye upon awakening. For severe issues, apply this dosage again before bed. After application, close the eyes and gently massage on and around the eye. Allow the oil to penetrate and avoid washing the eye. If the outer eyes are too oily, dab with a piece of tissue to remove any excess oil around the eye (optional).
**For dry, itchy, and red eyes, feel free to apply the castor oil eye drops as needed during flare-ups for instant relief."
I welcome your comments below and your feedback! Please feel free to contact me anytime.
Thank you Spirit for this experience of Life and for answering our callings in creative and amazing ways. Thanks sister, SvasthaAyurveda, wix, Amazon, Google Scholar, scientists and patients, Self and everyone who contributed to the realization of this article.
I hope this information helps you on your journey! Godspeed!! ^_^*