Castor oil is a thick, odorless oil made from the seeds of the castor plant. Its uses date back to ancient Egypt, where it was first used as lamp oil and later for medicinal and beauty treatments. Cleopatra reportedly believed the oil would brighten the whites of her eyes.
Castor oil has been touted as a cure-all for generations. Though it is only approved by the FDA as a laxative, not as an eye remedy. Modern research has found that castor oil does have high levels of fatty acid.
There are also stories of castor oil being used as a form of torture. It has side effects, which can be potentially debilitating:
• abdominal cramps
Many people who are making these videos on TikTok are claiming that applying castor oil in and around the eyes will treat dry eye and other vision problems. As we all know, much of what we see people do on social media makes me wonder where their brains are.
Eyecare professionals warn people not to use castor oil in or around their eyes. If you are having issues with your eyes, seek help from a medical professional before doing more harm than good. Castor oil on store shelves is not meant to be used on the eyes and could have dyes, preservatives, fragrances, or other ingredients that can cause irritation or infection. It also may not be sterilized. Many do not realize castor oil is also a main ingredient in cleaning products. These TikTokers make videos based on folk tales when science-based treatments have been evaluated in long-term studies and are approved for use. There is no scientific evidence to support claims made by TikTokers about castor oil’s benefits for vision, including, treatment of cataracts, glaucoma, floaters, presbyopia, or other eye problems.