Benefits of Tea Tree Oil for Your Eyes

by Jun 23, 2023

Tea tree oil has garnered a reputation for its impressive therapeutic properties, particularly for skincare. Many people have been told that tea tree oil is a good option for cleaning your eyelids, but it must be used with caution. Although it certainly holds potential benefits for eye health, it can also cause eye problems if used incorrectly.


What is Tea Tree Oil?

Tea tree oil is a volatile essential oil extracted from the leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia tree, which is native to Australia. The oil’s color varies depending on the level of refinement, ranging from nearly colorless to pale yellow. It has a pungent, medicinal scent and is well known for its antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties.


How is Tea Tree Oil Used for the Eyelids?

While there is some evidence supporting the use of tea tree oil for treating eyelid conditions such as blepharitis, it is best used in small quantities and in highly-diluted concentrations.

However, unlike in the past, there are many other options available to gain the beneficial aspects of tea tree oil without the risks associated with pure tea tree oil. In particular, there are eyelid cleansing wipes available that are infused with tea tree oil. These wipes can be used directly from the package without having to combine or mix the tea tree oil yourself.

There are also spray foams and liquid sprays that are used in conjunction with a non-treated lid wipe. These sprays are pre-mixed with the appropriate concentration of tea tree oil to be effective and still safe for use. If using a tea tree lid wipe, remove it from the package and gently scrub the upper and lower eyelids including up to the lashes. Then, flip the wipe over and repeat the same process on the other eye.

If using spray foam or liquid, apply the directed amount of spray onto the lid wipe or other soft cloth, and do not spray directly onto the eyes or eyelids. Take the lid wipe or cloth and complete the same gentle scrubbing as if using a pre-treated lid wipe.


Why Tea Tree Oil is Beneficial

Tea tree oil is touted to have antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and mild antiseptic properties, which make it a popular ingredient in skin care routines and other personal health care products. In some cases, eyelid redness or eyelid irritation is a result of a bacterial infection or a parasitic infestation of the eyelid and eyelashes. Tea tree oil’s low concentration does not harm the eyelid skin but can be toxic to any bacteria or pathogens infecting the eyelids. Its antifungal, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties can relieve symptoms like itching, dryness, and redness.


Concerns with Tea Tree Oil as an Eyelid Treatment

While there are potential benefits, there are also risks of using tea tree oil as an eyelid treatment for certain individuals. To avoid unwanted complications, all treatments with tea tree oil should be used with great care and only on the outside of the eyelids to maintain the effectiveness of the treatments while avoiding any unwanted exposure to the essential oil. Full-strength tea tree oil should not be applied to the eyelids as it can be toxic and irritating, especially when applied in areas where the skin is thin and sensitive like the eye region.


Tea tree oil is not safe to use directly on the eyes. Applying undiluted tea tree oil directly into the eyes can lead to severe irritation, pain, and vision problems. Ingesting tea tree oil is also not recommended as it can cause a range of side effects, such as digestive issues, rash, drowsiness, and confusion.


Our eye doctors at EyeDocs Family Eye Care in Brookville, OH excel in the prescription of glasses, contact lenses and the diagnosis of a variety of eye diseases. Call our optometrists at 937-770-1265 or schedule an eye exam appointment online if you would like to learn more about tea tree oil and its uses on the eyes. Our eye doctors, Dr. Kyle Maxam and Dr. Cara Wampler provide the highest quality optometry services and eye exams in Brookville, Ohio.


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