Castor oil is the best oil for dry eyes, says my mom

Dry eyes can be due to many factors and can lead to discomfort. You may try castor oil for dry eyes as a home remedy.
Prolonged screen time can lead to dry eyes. Image courtesy: Freepik
Natalia Ningthoujam Updated: 11 Jun 2024, 01:04 pm IST

Like a lot of working professionals, I tend to sit in front of the computer screen for long hours. When work finishes, I get glued to the television screen. I do some stretches to stay fit, but due to the prolonged screen time, my eyes have taken a hit. It didn’t take me long to have dry eyes, which caused discomfort apart from redness, stinging, and sensitivity to light. My doctor gave me eye drops and told me to reduce screen time. But I also tried a home remedy for dry eyes on my mother’s behest. She says castor oil is the best oil for dry eyes. Since moms are right most of the time, I had to give it a shot. What’s more? It is a science-backed home remedy for dry eyes.

What are dry eyes?

Dry eyes occur when tear production is insufficient or tears evaporate too quickly, leading to discomfort and vision problems, says cornea and refractive surgeon Dr Madhavi Majety. Dry eyes can be due to ageing, hormonal changes, medications, and environmental factors. Prolonged screen time and contact lens use can also disrupt tear production, leading to dryness and irritation.

Burning sensation in eyes is a symptom of dry eyes. Image courtesy: Freepik

What are the signs of dry eyes?

Dry eyes can manifest through various signs, including:

  • Persistent stinging or burning sensation
  • Irritation, redness, or a gritty feeling in the eyes
  • Blurred vision, sensitivity to light, and difficulty wearing contact lenses
  • Discomfort when reading, using digital devices, or being in dry or windy environments

If you notice changes in the quality or quantity of your tears, it may indicate dry eye syndrome, says the expert.

Is castor oil good for dry eyes?

Researchers at the University of Auckland conducted a successful pilot study on castor oil as a natural treatment for dry eyes. Now, they are going forward with a clinical trial of castor oil for dry eyes. During a 2010 study published in the Contact Lens & Anterior Eye journal, eye drops containing castor oil were also found to be helpful in reducing dry eye symptoms.

Castor oil, known for its lubricating properties, can aid in treating dry eyes, says Dr Majety. It has a moisturising event that helps to retain moisture in the eyes by preventing evaporation of tears. It reduces eye irritation as it is also anti-inflammatory in nature due to the presence of ricinoleic acid. Castor oil is also rich in fatty acids that promote a healthier tear film and improve eye lubrication. These properties collectively contribute to alleviating dry eye symptoms and promoting overall eye health.

Use castor oil for dry eyes. Image courtesy: Freepik

How to use castor oil for dry eyes?

While there are eye drops with castor oil, you can also use it as a home remedy.

  • Apply a small amount of castor oil on a clean fingertip or a cotton swab.
  • Gently apply the oil along the eyelid margin, avoiding direct contact with the eye.

It is crucial to use a high-quality, hexane-free castor oil for this purpose, says the expert.

Initially, start with applying castor oil once a day before bedtime. Depending on the severity of dry eyes, you can gradually increase or decrease the frequency. Consistency is key, but consult with an eye care professional for any guidance related to dry eyes or home remedies for it.

Also read: Bring relief to your dry eyes with these tips

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What are the side effects of using castor oil for dry eyes?

While castor oil is generally considered safe for eyes, some people may experience mild irritation or allergic reactions. If redness, itching, or swelling occurs, stop using it and consult with an eye care professional. Avoid using castor oil with additives or contaminants, as impurities can cause irritation.

If you are not comfortable with castor oil, you can also try warm compresses to stimulate tear production and alleviate dryness. Regularly blinking can help to spread tears evenly and reduce evaporation too. You can use humidifiers to maintain adequate moisture in indoor environments as well. Over-the-counter lubricating eye drops can provide relief too, but check with your doctor first.

Natalia Ningthoujam

Natalia Ningthoujam has written on various subjects - from music to films and fashion to lifestyle - as a journalist in her career that started in 2010. After getting stories from the crime scene, police headquarters, and conducting interviews with celebrities, she is now writing on health and wellness which has become her focus area. ...Read More

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