Dr. Weeks’ Comment: Fifteen years ago, when flying Thai Airways back from Thailand where I was lecturing on holistic and integrative medicine, I was awakened by a flight attendant who asked if I was a doctor because there was medical emergency. I said that I would be happy to try and help and was then taken to meet the patient. This unfortunate lady had awoken from her sleep at 40,000 feet and reached into her purse seeking for her little bottle of artificial tears. Instead, she retrieved a bottle of SuperGlue (!!!) and administered this into her eyes atop her contact lenses and now was in a sticky (and painful) situation. Well, in addition to practicing medicine, I am a beekeeper and respectful of the myriad healing properties of raw honey, in those days, I always traveled with honey. What happened next astonished even me: with the distraught lady’s permission, I applied my raw honey to her eye and gently massaged the tissues. Raw honey is a topical analgesic agent – ask one who applied it to a burned hand in the kitchen – pain gone instantly. Raw honey also converts to 20 ppm of hydrogen peroxide upon contact with the skin and it also imparts ant0biotic, anti-fungal and anti-viral benefits. More good news: raw honey is full of enzymes (remember it is honey bee vomit) and is a tremendously biologically active agent (think of dogs licking their wounds) and so, within 15 minutes, we had the contact lens out of the eye, the pain was resolved and the patient was prepared to rest for the duration of the flight.
Why am I telling you this story now, some 15 years later? Because today, my good friend and colleague, Dr. Jonathan Miller sent me this article which I share with you.
Complementary treatment of contact lens-induced corneal ulcer using honey: A case report
- •Honeydew honey in a combination with topical antibiotics is effective in treatment of corneal ulcer.
- •Honeydew honey is highly effective in vitro against ocular isolates, in particular Stenotrophomonas maltophilia.
- •Honey is a promising antibacterial agent in management of corneal ulcers.
The aim of this study was to report the complementary use of honey for treatment of a contact lens-induced corneal ulcer.
A 23-year-old contact lens user presented with a corneal ulcer in her left eye. She had visual acuity reduced to hand movement. There was a history of wearing contact lenses while swimming in a lake seven days before presentation. The cultures from corneal scrapings and contact lenses were positive for Klebsiella oxytoca, Pseudomonas aeruginosa,Stenotrophomonas maltophilia and Pseudomonas spp. The treatment with topical levofloxacin and 25% (w/v) γ-irradiated honeydew honey solution was effective and the patient achieved final best corrected visual acuity of affected eye. In addition to positive clinical outcome, honeydew honey was shown to be highly effective in vitro against ocular isolates, in particular S. maltophilia. The minimal inhibitory concentrations for honeydew honey ranged from 5% to 10%.
These results demonstrate that honey is a promising antibacterial agent in management of corneal ulcers. Moreover, honey exhibits anti-biofilm and anti-inflammatory properties, and thus becomes an interesting ophthalmologic agent.