Researchers in the southeastern city of Nanchang, China, believe a sprig of mistletoe could seriously help dry eye sufferers. According to their report, dry eye patients saw a tremendous improvement in symptoms after using mistletoe oil drops for only a few months.
In total, 60 women between 50 and 56 years old participated in this study. All of the women involved in this research were postmenopausal and suffered frequent bouts of dry eye symptoms.
Half of these participants were given mistletoe oil eye drops mixed with carboxymethyl cellulose. The control group was given saline drops. Both groups were instructed to put four drops in each eye every day over the course of two months.
After two months, researchers examined the changes in each patients' eyes. They found that women who used the mistletoe oil had increased tear production and a stronger tear film than the group using the saline solution. Perhaps even more impressive, scientists found that the mistletoe group had fewer cells associated with eye inflammation.
Seven of the eight study authors involved in this research work at the First Affiliated Hospital of Nanchang University's Department of Ophthalmology. The remaining study author, Qi-Chen Yang, works at the Eye Institute of Xiamen University.
Dry eye syndrome is one of the most common eye issues around the world. Symptoms of this disorder include increased tear production, itchy eyes, and red eyes. Sometimes dry eye symptoms could be triggered by certain allergens.
The main factors leading to the 21st century's rise in dry eye cases include prolonged digital screen use, lack of natural sunlight, and nutrient-deficient diets. Smokers, post-menopausal women, and frequent flyers are at a higher risk of developing dry eye syndrome than the general public.
Common treatment strategies for dry eye include re-wetting drops, diet changes, reducing screen time, and, in more serious cases, prescription medications. Eye doctors urge dry eye patients to try and get more sunlight and to eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A, and vitamin D3.
Anyone who wants to learn more about this mistletoe research should pick up the latest edition of the International Journal of Ophthalmology. This study was published under the title, "Effect of mistletoe combined with carboxymethyl cellulose on dry eye in postmenopausal women."