Castor oil, the oil obtained from the castor plant or Ricinus communis, has been the go-to medicine for many ailments from constipation to eczema for centuries in various alternative therapies and sometimes even in allopathy. Castor oil, thanks to its high (90%) content of ricinoleic acid, can fight fungi and bacteria, reduce inflammation and pain, and also function as a laxative.1 But can you put it in the eye? Yes, you may, but only after you consult your doctor. Benefits of castor oil for the eye include treatment for dry eyes and inflammations.
1. Reduces Symptoms Of Dry Eyes
While research has conclusively proven that castor oil is a good remedy for normal to severe dry eyes, this fact is often overlooked.
Dry eyes have become nothing short of an epidemic. At least 25% of all visits to ophthalmologists are related to dry eyes.2 Several factors like aging, laser eye surgery, reduced rate of blinking (given the time most of us spend on electronic devices with bright screens), and a few disorders of the eye can result in dry eyes.
Your tear film has three layers: water, oil (lipid), and mucus. In most dry eye cases, tears evaporate from the surface of the cornea due to a lipid deficiency or imbalance. Lipid deficiency or imbalance can also be caused by meibomian gland disease and blepharitis.
In such cases, the remedy could be administering a castor oil emulsion in the eyes 6 times a day for 2 weeks.3 Castor oil can reduce the evaporation of water from the cornea, and there is mounting evidence to show that a castor oil emulsion can treat it much more effectively than any conventional treatment.4 5
Even severe dry eye cases that have not responded to regular treatment or conventional medicines have improved with castor oil administration.6
2. Can Treat Eye Inflammation
In India, castor oil seems to have been used to cure cataracts before the advent of modern medicine and surgery,7 but there’s no evidence for this benefit. Castor oil, however, has been used in the preparation of certain anti-inflammatory drugs,8 which shows it could treat some cases of inflammations.
In a study conducted on 11 patients of keratoconjunctivitis (which is the inflammation of cornea and conjunctiva), it was found that topical administration of cyclosporine as a 2% dilution in castor oil could treat the condition.9
3. Can Keep Your Eyes Beautiful
Additionally, applying castor oil on the eyelashes ensures they grow long and strong. Castor oil is excellent for hair growth, moisturizing hair strands, and keeping them healthy. All you need to do is gently apply castor oil on the eyelashes. Moreover, massaging the oil around the eyes can keep the wrinkles and crow’s feet around the eyes at bay. This is because castor oil is very effective in keeping the skin moisturized and supple. Regular application of castor oil around the eyes can help you sleep better, say users, though no clinical study has backed it yet.
A Word Of Caution
It’s beyond debate that castor oil is good for eyes. But it would be better to consult your ophthalmologist before administering it because it could have a toxic effect on conjunctival cells. This effect could explain why some people complain of eye irritation or allergies after application of castor oil in their eyes.10
|↑1||Ladda, Padma Laxmikant, and Rupali Bhimashankar Kamthane. “Ricinus communis (castor): An overview.” International Journal of Research in Pharmacology & Pharmacotherapeutics 3, no. 2 (2014): 136-144.|
|↑2||Gayton, Johnny L. “Etiology, prevalence, and treatment of dry eye disease.” Clinical ophthalmology (Auckland, NZ) 3 (2009): 405.|
|↑3||Treatment. Ketchum University.|
|↑4||Hasegawa, Takashi, Hideki Amako, Takeshi Yamamoto, Mariko Tazawa, and Yuji Sakamoto. “Corneal-protective effects of an artificial tear containing sodium hyaluronate and castor oil on a porcine short-term dry eye model.” Journal of Veterinary Medical Science 76, no. 9 (2014): 1219-1224.|
|↑5||Khanal, Santosh, Alan Tomlinson, Edward I. Pearce, and Peter A. Simmons. “Effect of an oil-in-water emulsion on the tear physiology of patients with mild to moderate dry eye.” Cornea 26, no. 2 (2007): 175-181.|
|↑6||Dastjerdi, Mohammad H., Pedram Hamrah, and Reza Dana. “High-frequency topical cyclosporine 0.05% in the treatment of severe dry eye refractory to twice-daily regimen.” Cornea 28, no. 10 (2009): 1091.|
|↑7||Biswas, Jyotirmay, Vasanthi Badrinath, and Sengamedu S. Badrinath. “Ophthalmic contributions of Raja Serfoji II (1798–1832).” Indian journal of ophthalmology 60, no. 4 (2012): 297.|
|↑8||Miyake, Kensaku, Yoshihiro Tsuriya, Hiroko Yageta, Hidekazu Suzuki, and Yoshihiro Toyoda. “Anti-inflammatory eye drop.” U.S. Patent 6,495,603, issued December 17, 2002.|
|↑9||Secchi, Antonio G., M. Sofia Tognon, and Andrea Leonardi. “Topical use of cyclosporine in the treatment of vernal keratoconjunctivitis.” American journal of ophthalmology 110, no. 6 (1990): 641-645.|
|↑10||Said, Toihiri, Mélody Dutot, Raymond Christon, Jean-Louis Beaudeux, Chantal Martin, Jean-Michel Warnet, and Patrice Rat. “Benefits and side effects of different vegetable oil vectors on apoptosis, oxidative stress, and P2X7 cell death receptor activation.” Investigative ophthalmology & visual science 48, no. 11 (2007): 5000-5006.|