Can castor oil treat poor vision, glaucoma? Experts reveal the truth

By, New Delhi
Aug 26, 2023 04:30 PM IST

TikTok videos claim that rubbing castor oil over eyelids and under the eyes can help treat eye problems from poor vision to glaucoma. Doctors reveal truth.

If you are someone who love to try tips and tricks served by viral videos, you may have been tempted by this one. There are certain videos doing the rounds on TikTok that have claimed that rubbing castor oil over eyelids, eyelashes and under the eyes can help treat eye problems like dryness, poor vision and even glaucoma. As for castor oil, it is a vegetable oil which is used to treat skin infections and is a common ingredient in over-the-counter eye drops. However, experts warn against the use of the oil around eye area saying that it may cause irritation, redness or discomfort and it is important to consult your eye doctor before trying any home remedy. (Also read: Conjunctivitis alert: Can you get eye flu by looking into someone's eyes? Know how it spreads, precautions)

Castor oil, it is a vegetable oil which is used to treat skin infections and is a common ingredient in over-the-counter eye drops(Freepik)
Castor oil, it is a vegetable oil which is used to treat skin infections and is a common ingredient in over-the-counter eye drops(Freepik)

‘No scientific basis’

"I would like to emphasise that there is no scientific basis to support the use of castor oil for treating vision problems. While castor oil has been historically used for various purposes, its application to the eyes for vision issues is not recommended. The eye is a highly delicate and complex organ, and any treatment involving it should be evidence-based and guided by established medical practices. Vision problems such as myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism, or conditions like dry eyes require appropriate diagnosis and management by qualified eye care professionals," says Dr. Punit Jain, Senior Consultant, Sharp Sight Eye Hospital.

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'May benefit some people, but expert guidance important'

"While castor oil has captured attention for its potential role in enhancing eye health, a cautious and well-informed approach is essential. Packed with ricinoleic acid and other beneficial fatty acids, castor oil has been associated with potential advantages, like providing moisture and alleviating the discomfort of dry, irritated eyes. Many individuals have reported relief from dryness by applying castor oil to their eyelids. However, it’s crucial to acknowledge that scientific substantiation for these claims remains limited and inconclusive. Therefore, prior to considering any form of self-administration, consulting a certified eye care specialist is imperative. Positive outcomes may be encountered by some, yet others might encounter adverse responses, including irritation or allergic reactions," says Dr. Ajay Sharma Chief Medical Director of EyeQ.

Castor oil can cause serious issues

"Applying castor oil to the eyes can lead to serious complications. The oil may cause irritation, redness, and discomfort, potentially exacerbating existing eye problems or even leading to new issues. Additionally, introducing foreign substances into the eyes increases the risk of infection and other adverse reactions," says Dr Jain.

Dr Jain strongly advises against attempting any home remedies, especially those without scientific backing, for treating vision problems and says one should consult a certified ophthalmologist if experiencing vision issues.

"They can provide accurate diagnosis, recommend suitable treatments or corrective measures, and ensure the safety and health of your eyes. Relying on unverified claims from sources like TikTok can be detrimental to your eye health and overall well-being," said Dr Jain.

"The distinctive composition of castor oil, its viscosity, and its potential to distribute over the eye’s surface give rise to concerns about unintended repercussions. Inaccurate application or unregulated use could also potentially result in hazy vision or discomfort. Furthermore, the risk of infection might escalate if foreign substances are introduced to the eye region without proper sterility. In essence, while castor oil’s potential benefits for eye care are intriguing, seeking personalized advice from an eye care expert and exercising prudence are paramount," adds Dr Sharma.

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