The most common cause of dry eyes is meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD). MGD represents about 80% of dry eye cases, and can present itself with symptoms of red, burning, scratchy and irritated eyes. Your meibomian glands are located on the lower and upper eyelids and primarily function to secrete oils into your tears. The oils are critical to maintaining the structure and integrity of tears over your cornea, keeping them moist and lubricated. Unfortunately your meibomian glands are are prone to infections by Staphylococcus which reduce functionality. Many conventional forms of treatment for severe dry eyes targets these infections through to use of antibiotics, however manuka honey has recently been used to try reduce the amount of bacteria colonising your lids to improve dry eyes.
A recent study published in Clinical and Experimental optometry has shown there is a significant improvement in patients with dry eyes after 8 weeks of using a combination of warm compresses, lid massages, lubricants and Manuka honey eye drops.
In this study, 114 people with MGD were randomised and classed into 3 groups. The first group used 98% Manuka honey gel, the second group used 16% Manuka honey drops and the third group used conventional therapy. Clinical findings were taken at baseline and 8 weeks after.
The results were extremely positive for the use of manuka honey for dry eyes and were shown to be just as effective, if not, even more effective than conventional dry eye treatments. After 8 weeks of use with manuka honey eye drops, there was a significant improvement in tear evaporation, redness and inflammation, bacterial counts and tear film stability. Although a few people dropped out from the study due to reactions such a stinging and redness, the majority of patients stuck with the treatment because of the benefits. One of the major benefits in using manuka honey eyedrops as a form of dry eye treatment, is that it actually targets the problem and promotes healthier whiter eyes instead of just using lubricants to treat the symptoms. Just as manuka honey has been used for thousands of years to treat wounds, it is now vastly becoming popular in the treatment of dry eyes.