Self-Treatment for Minor Eye Conditions

Disclosures

US Pharmacist. 2001;26(12) 

Products to Avoid

Patients sometimes resort to home remedies such as chamomile tea compresses, but these kinds of homemade interventions should generally be avoided.

Some patients may believe that boric acid is safe and effective as an antiseptic eyewash, but it is not. They may attempt to create a solution from boric acid powder, or boil boric acid solution to create their own eye drops. The risk of boron toxicity makes this practice potentially dangerous. Furthermore, any ophthalmic infection mandates immediate medical attention.

Some web sites also promote unproven remedies such as colloidal silver, internal echinacea, marigold flower topical soaks, and honey. All of these remedies lack proof of efficacy. The risks of placing an unproven, non-sterile product in one's eye outweigh any of the possible benefits.

Various herbal products can be prepared for ophthalmic instillation, but they may cause serious damage. In one case, a patient using a contaminated eyedrop experienced irreversible corneal scarring. The pharmacist should advise patients to avoid all eye products that are not prepared using aseptic technique.

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