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Castor oil doesn’t belong anywhere near the eyes

UCI Health expert says no evidence exists to support the TikTok trend

August 24, 2023

IN THE NEWS: A new TikTok trend has users applying castor oil around their eyes, lauding the substance as beneficial for everything from fighting dry eye and improving vision to reducing the risk of eye disease.

Dr. Donny W. Suh, a pediatric ophthalmologist with the UCI Health Gavin Herbert Eye Institute, spoke to MDLinx about whether the treatment has scientific validity.

“There is no scientific evidence to support claims made by TikTokers about [castor oil’s] benefits for vision including treatment of cataracts, glaucoma, floaters, presbyopia or other eye problems.”

In fact, getting castor oil in the eye, he said, can cause eye irritation, reduced tear quality, blurred vision and allergic reactions. It also can block lubricating glands in the eyelid, resulting in dry eye.

Suh is a professor and chief of pediatric ophthalmology at the UCI School of Medicine's Department of Ophthalmology. A member of the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, he is the author of  more than100 peer-reviewed articles in major journals and textbooks. His research is focused on pediatric eye conditions and developing devices to improve safety and precision during eye surgery.

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