Anyone who has been to our clinic knows I am a big advocate of Optimel – our medical grade antibacterial Leptospermum sp. Manuka Honey, sourced from Australia and New Zealand. Applied to the eye lid margin as the 98% gel once or twice a day, it is often the ‘missing link’ when trying to get those oil glands to loosen up and produce healthier oil. Not only that, but after a prolonged period of time, it can also reduce the blood vessels along the lids (called telangiectasia) which causes the redness which is so common in dry eye. For many people, the need for doing daily heat compresses has dropped which is great for those of us who are time poor! With both anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial actions it can be used long term with great effect. I suggest the 16% eye drop be used as needed more for its soothing properties. It can be used in conjunction with the gel as we are targeting two different issues (one is trying to improve the oil, the other is giving relief) and with other artificial tears. Personally I find the soothing effects of the drops lasts at least 3 or 4 hours. The gel is preservative free, and the drops contain Benzoic Acid which is a widely used food preservative found naturally in high levels of Leptospermum sp. Natural, and quickly metabolised by the liver, it does not offer the same concerns as preservatives found in artificial tears.
So what’s the catch? It stings. I mean it REALLY stings! I will describe it more as a burn than a sting but it will certainly make you sit up and take notice! And that’s just fine because we know it does that. And causes some redness. Both are very short acting – lasting maybe one or two minutes and nothing that is intolerable. The reason is that is has a much lower pH (bacteria don't like low pH!) than the eye and we feel that neutralisation on the eye surface. It is not harmful or dangerous to the eye and does not cause any long term damage. PLEASE do not let that sting put you off. It is only brief and the benefits of the manuka honey can far outweigh any transient redness or discomfort. Some people find that using an artificial tear in the eye (like Hylo-fresh or Theratears) can help decrease the sting particularly from the drop.
You can purchase both the Optimel 98% gel ($24.95) and Optimel 16% drops ($22.95) from our clinic in person or call us on 08 7225 9798 for us to post it out to you.
Highly recommended for dry eye relief!