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Eyecare harnessing the power of Manuka honey

Eyecare harnessing the power of Manuka honey

Manuka honey is the active ingredient of Optimel Dry Eye Drops and the Optimel Manuka + Forte Eye Gel launched by The Body Doctor company at 100% Optical last month.

The Optimel eye drops and preservative-free gel are for evaporative dry eye disease, meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD), aqueous tear deficiency and blepharitis. They help reduce dry eye symptoms such as soreness, inflammation and irritation in the eyes and eyelids. Optimel’s innovative eye care products are made with pharmaceutical-grade honey.

Manuka honey’s active ingredient is called Methylglyoxal (MGO), which helps kill bacteria around the eyelids and creates a micro-environment on the ocular surface. Within this, the Optimel formula helps heal the surface of the eye and prevents further damage, made possible by the antibacterial properties of the Manuka honey.

The Optimel Manuka + Forte Eye Gel is for severe and persistent dry eyes and features a concentrated formula, with 98% medical grade Leptospermum honey, making it ideal for use prior to sleep. Optimel products complete The Eye Doctor’s daily eyecare regime: heat, cleanse, revive and repair.

Optimel products are often associated with spontaneous tearing and blinking due to the transient low pH and hyperosmotic environment they provide. The tearing and blinking help rapidly displace the formula over the eye surface, providing a lubrication effect.

The honey aids eyelid margin hygiene. As a humectant, any crust formed in the presence of the honey is more likely to be soft and soluble, with the low PH environment limiting bacterial growth thereby reducing lid margin bacteria and the consequential inflammation around the meibomian gland ducts.

The Body Doctor’s clinical consultant, Andrew Price, said: “I have taken a keen interest in the ocular applications of Manuka honey with its active antibacterial ingredient MGO since reading various clinical trial reports on its use for MGD and contact lens discomfort.

“It seems the use of either the drops or gel formulations hold promise of an antibacterial effect comparable with conventional antibiotic therapies in the management of abnormal ocular flora. It is recognised there is a higher proportion of ocular surface flora in many dry eye sufferers and contact lens wearers. This factor is integral in the ‘dry eye vicious cycle,’ being implicated in the production of lipolytic enzymes, which destabilise the tear film resulting in dry eye symptoms. This is in addition to the direct threat of bacterial infection to the eye.

“To help quickly and effectively break that self-perpetuating cycle, I am using these products more and more as an adjunct to the more conventional heat plus approach patients use at home.

“However, the formulations have a noticeable transient stinging sensation, comparable to several other active eye drop formulations, such as chloramphenicol or ocular hypertensives, therefore I tell patients this is completely normal and indicates the more active effect and that these are not the conventional dry eye drops possibly used previously.”

The Body Doctor Ltd, manufacturer of The Eye Doctor range, won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the Innovation category last month for its Sterileyes patented antibacterial compresses used to treat dry eye disease, MGD and blepharitis. The Sterileyes solution is clinically proven to reduce bacteria on the compress by 99.9% and is an integral component of Eye Doctor hot and cold compresses.

The Huddersfield-based company first won the Queen’s Award for Innovation in 2016. Last month The Body Doctor Ltd also won a Ward Hadaway Yorkshire Fastest 50 Award. The prestigious accolades celebrate growth, innovation and the commercial achievements of Yorkshire businesses.

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