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In the new age of holistic healing and internet self-diagnosing, people are searching online to find natural remedies now more than ever. Most of the time, these “remedies” can be more harmful than they are helpful.
There is often a new health fad trending online that claims to be the next best thing. Dr. Matthew Gardiner and Dr. David Jung break down the dangers of trying three eye and ear health fads found online.
Ghee Eye Baths
Ghee Eye Baths are a new trend with the intent of relieving pressure from the eye, using ghee, a natural form of butter. A putty-like substance forms a cup around the eye. Ghee is then melted down and poured into the cup over the closed eye, fully covering the eyelid. The person then opens his or her eye to soak in the “minerals” of the ghee.
Though ghee itself may not be toxic, it is not necessarily what is in the ghee that could cause the most harm to the eye. Rather, how hot it is when poured into the eye.
“If it’s too hot, it has the potential to cause a thermal burn to the eye besides the fact that it’s not pH balanced for the ocular surface,” said Matthew Gardiner, MD, ophthalmologist and director of Emergency Eye Services at Mass. Eye and Ear. “It is just not meant to go in the eye.”
Cosmetic Colored Contacts
Makeup artists and bloggers on Instagram spare no expense when it comes to their beauty routines. Many of these influencers are now turning to unprescribed colored contacts lenses that can be purchased online.
“The problem with unprescribed contact lenses is that each eye is shaped differently and needs to be fitted with a specific type of lens to accommodate it,” said Dr. Gardiner. “By wearing an ill-fitting lens, you could damage your cornea.” He goes on to explain that you should see a contact lens specialist if you are considering this option. “You can be fitted for prescribed colored contacts that won’t cause damage and will still achieve a different cosmetic look.”
Mass. Eye and Ear provides colored contacts through our Optometry and Contact Lens Service for strictly cosmetic purposes.
Ear candling has been around for a few years now. It is known to remove earwax using a tall candle that supposedly melts the ear wax out of the ear.
It is done using a candle shaped instrument made from a hollow paper tube soaked in wax and left to dry. It is then placed with the base in the inner portion of the ear with a piece of paper surrounding it mid-way down to prevent wax from dripping onto the face. The “candle” is lit from the top to melt the inner ear wax as well as create suction.
“I have seen instances where people come in because the wax drips down into the ear, which can create some pretty serious burns,” explained David Jung, MD, PhD, neurotologist at Mass. Eye and Ear.
One major concern is hot wax entering the inner ear and either burning or congealing (hardening). If the wax hardens, it may need to be surgically removed. “I always tell people it’s a bad idea,” said Dr. Jung. “Don’t do it.”
Always remember to consult your doctor before attempting any of these or other methods.
About Our Experts
Matthew Gardiner, MD, is an ophthalmologist and the director of Emergency Eye Services at Mass. Eye and Ear, Main Campus. He is also the medical director of Ophthalmology at Mass. Eye and Ear, Stoneham.