How this new TikTok trend is impacting ophthalmologists

A new trend on TikTok has some users claiming that rubbing castor oil, a type of vegetable oil, on your eyelids, eyelashes and under your eyes can treat vision problems including dryness, floaters, cataracts, poor vision and glaucoma, according to an Aug. 5 report from NBC News.

One TikTok user claimed that after two weeks of rubbing castor oil on her eyes, she no longer needed to wear reading glasses as often. Another said it prevented her eye infection from progressing and got rid of her floaters. 

Now, ophthalmologists are warning that partaking in this trend can ruin your eyes, according to the report. 

While there is limited research that suggests eyedrops with a low concentration of castor oil help with dry eyes and inflammation, the studies have small sample sizes and no control groups. 

"These conditions occur inside the eyeball," Vicki Chan, MD, a Los Angeles-based ophthalmologist, told NBC. "So even if you put a drop of castor oil on your eye, it's not going to seep in and dissolve or fix anything."

While castor oil is safe for external use, putting it on your eye can cause infections, irritation, allergic reactions, adverse interactions with other medication, discomfort and inflammation. 

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