Trial finds honey to be superior for dry eyes

For thousands of years communities have recognised the wound healing and anti-bacterial properties of honey.


Now, in a ground-breaking new trial, this powerful natural product has been proven to outperform standard treatments in relieving the symptoms of dry eyes.


The trial, published last month in Optometry Australia’s journal, Clinical and Experimental Optometry, indicated the honey treatment improved the dry eye condition and, unlike conventional lubricants, had an all-important anti-bacterial effect.


Patients in the trial were given Optimel Antibacterial Manuka Eye Gel or Optimel Manuka+ Dry Eye Drops, produced by Melcare. The patients who used the honey therapy reported their eyes felt better and not so ‘gritty’. Most chose to continue using the honey treatments after the study concluded.


The project was specifically tested on meibomian gland disease (MGD) induced dry eye, the most common cause of dry eye, so it did not cover every type of dry eye.


Trial co-author, Associate Professor Katrina Schmid from Queensland University of Technology School of Optometry and Vision Science, said that while all treatments (including conventional lubricants) clinically and significantly improved dry eye, the honey therapies improved it the most and the gel was superior.


“It’s a novel treatment for dry eye because it has both antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and has a different mechanism from those of other products,” said Prof Schmid.


“Practitioners can suggest it to patients and know with confidence that they will see a benefit and should experience significant improvements over two months.


“The trial has provided evidence of its benefits to patients with chronic, long-term and difficult to treat MGD,’ she said.


CEO of Melcare, Anthony Moloney, said “Response from optometrists in Australia has been quite outstanding and from patients, overwhelming. The drops do sting and it doesn’t work for everyone but where it does work, it can be profound,” he said.


Mr Moloney said that good eyelid hygiene, clean eyes and eyelid margins, should always be initial therapy but if lubricants did not manage the condition well, people could try the honey products.


“For most people with chronic dry eye which is difficult to manage, they will be suitable,” he said.


Talk to your optometrist for advice if you have an eye condition.


12 July 2017.