How much can castor oil improve dry eye and eyelash crusting?

We are looking for research participants to help us find out if a castor oil preparation applied around the eyelids can improve symptoms of dry eye by improving tear film and ocular surface quality.

What's involved?

Eligible participants will be randomised to apply either castor oil or a control solution to the skin, close to the eyelids, twice daily.

The total duration of the trial is 6 months, with a total of 5 visits for a duration of up to 1 hour each where we will measure various aspects of your ocular surface.

Participants will be reimbursed with $20 MTA vouchers at each clinic visit attended.

Eligibility criteria

If you have symptoms or a previous diagnosis of blepharitis or dry eye disease, you may be eligible to participate. This includes symptoms such as eyelash crusting, burning, grittiness, excessive watering and/or blurry vision.

You may not be eligible to participate if the following apply to you:

  • Regular use of eye medications or therapies (other than lubricant eye drops or warm compresses)
  • Current use of lid hygiene products – these need to be stopped at least 2 weeks before the trial begins and for the duration of the trial
  • Significant disparity in the ocular surface condition between your two eyes (both eyes need to be of similar severity at baseline for valid comparisons between techniques to be made)
  • Contact lens wear – contact lens wearers are eligible as long as the contact lenses have been removed at least 24 hours previously, and must remain unworn for the duration of the study
  • Ocular surgery in the last 3 months in either eye
  • A systemic condition, disease or trauma judged by the investigator to be incompatible with participation in the study
  • The history or presence of any ocular disorder or condition in either eye that would likely interfere with the interpretation of the study results

Contact details

For any queries or concerns about this study please contact one of the following researchers.

(Note: Please contact Catherine in the first instance.)

Mrs Catherine Jennings
Doctoral candidate, research optometrist

Ms Carol D’Souza
BOptom summer student

Dr Kalika Bandamwar
Postdoctoral research fellow
Phone: 022 EYE PAIN (022 393 7246)

Professor Jennifer Craig
Principal investigator

Further information

Approved by the University of Auckland Human Participant Ethics Committee on 16/03/2018 for 6.5 years.

Reference number UAHPEC19304.