Dealing with red or irritated eyes is a problem that can be especially frustrating for those who deal with it day after day. However, there is a gentle option for treating irritated eyes that does not include antibiotics.

A Potential Cause of Eye Irritation

Jan Richard Bruenech, PhD, a professor of ocular anatomy and founding director of the Biomedical Research Unit at the Buskerud and Vestfold University in Norway, presented some fascinating research of studies done looking at potential causes of red irritated eyes. He described the lifecycle of the Demodex, a tough parasite that takes up residence in your eyelash follicles. There is no need to go into details. Just know it is disgusting. The Demodex can live for many hours —almost a day — under a microscope light before expiring. They don’t love light, so they try to stay away.

One of the most common treatments for eyelid irritation is antibiotics. Unforutunately, antibiotics do not bother the Demodex much. Since they are hiding down in the eyelash follicles, it is more difficult for any topical medication to reach where they are hiding. To further add to our word picture, a person could have up to fifteen Demodex per eyelash.

How to Use Manuka Honey

A slightly sticky option, nontoxic option for treating red/dry eyes is Manuka honey from New Zealand. Manuka honey has many medicinal benefits worth consideration. It is recommended that one use Manuka honey that has an MGO, which is the amount of methylglyoxal content, of four hundred or more.

To begin with Manuka treatment, apply a thin film of the honey along the base of your eyelashes as you get ready for bed. The honey should be applied at night because that is when the Demodex become most active. If you find there is too much stickiness, simply add a bit of water. The honey will increase the odds of smothering the Demodex.

The antibacterial properties of the honey can also be helpful for decreasing any secondary bacterial infections. Certainly, your eyelids will be sticky at night, but the sensation can be wiped away with warm water. As you wash away the honey, you may also be washing away the lovely, uninvited Demodex that took residence in your eyes. Because the lifespan of a Demodex is 2-3 weeks, you will want to continue the nightly Manuka application for one month.

Advantages of Manuka Honey

Using Manuka oil as a treatment for dry and irritated eyes has the following advantages that put a new meaning to “goodnight and sweet dreams:”

  1. Cuts down on unnecessary use of antibiotics, which contributes to antibiotic-resistant bacteria formation.
  2. Makes it more likely to get to the underlying cause of itching and inflammation
  3. Avoids irritating the sensitive eye tissue.