Thursday, October 23, 2014

Dry, irritated eyes and puffed eyelids (CVS): try tea tree oil!

Since I started working about 8 hours a day before a computer screen, I have been suffering from dry, irritated eyes and especially sore and puffed upper eyelids. And now I have truly found a solution that works.

The keywords here are blepharitis; a microscopic mite called demodex; and, as far as the solution goes: tea tree essential oil, a natural (albeit very powerful - not to goof around with) extract of the tea tree plant.

I'll make this short. If you suffer, as I did, from red, itchy, irritated eyes and/or puffed and sore eyelids, the problem might be an excess population of demodex mites at the base of your eyelids. Everybody has them, you have too much of them (invisible to the naked eye). So you need to "weed them out" a bit.

The problem: demodex parasitic mite (photo Alan R. Walker)
The remedy is extremely simple and cheap:
  • put a drop of tea tree oil (Camelia Sinensis) on your finger and rub it out a bit with another finger. Your fingertip should be moist with it, but there shouldn't be a real drop on it (otherwise the stuff might leak into your eyes and that really stings).
  • close your eye and rub the oil gently on the edges of your eyelids where your eyelashes begin. The idea is to get it on and around the base of your eyelids - but not into your eye. Repeat for the other eye.
  • the first weeks (I read a minimum of six) do this every morning on waking and every evening when going to bed. After that you need a regular hygiene (say once a day) just to keep the demodex at normal levels.
The solution: tea tree (source)
You'll find tea tree oil at your pharmacist's and at organic stores, amonst others.

Now be warned:
  1. Tea tree oil is strong and stings. Even when you don't get it into your eye but only on the eyelids, as you should, it will give a burning sensation. That's not harmful and it goes away within ten minutes (and gradually faster as you get used to it and better at applying it), but be prepared.
  2. If you do get it into your eyes, don't panic. It happened to me several times and has no lasting adverse effects to my knowledge. But it stings like hell for ten minutes or so.
  3. Apparently you shouldn't see this as a "disease" that the tea tree "cures". It's more like regular hygiene.
  4. I obviously urge you to consult a health care professional before doing this.
Here is some suggested reading:
To be complete, I should mention I also wear special computer glasses now. Mine are Prisma P1 Lite (lite because I work on AutoCAD and need to distinguish colors a lot). I am very pleased with them. Unlike Gunnar glasses, which I tried also, my Prisma computer glasses don't magnify which is perfect for me.
The glasses did ease my eye problems somewhat without solving them altogether (but I wear them foremost to protect my eyes from the too harsh computer screen light), it wasn't until the tea tree remedy that I really felt a true relief.

Good luck!

No comments:

Post a Comment