'Breastmilk, urine no cure for sore eyes'

Posted at 09/27/10 12:30 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Breastmilk may be an excellent source of nutrients for babies but it's not a cure for sore eyes, according to a medical expert.

Dr. Jack Arroyo, president of the American Eye Center, notes that this is one of the most common myths associated with the treatment of sore eyes or viral conjunctivitis.

Another so-called cure, he says, is pouring urine on infected eyes.


Breastmilk not a cure for sore eyes, Arroyo says.


"Using breastmilk and urine on the eye are common myths that should be avoided because these may cause secondary bacterial infection like gonorrhea and chlamydia," Arroyo explains.

He adds, "There is no cure for viral conjunctivitis. It is self-limiting, lasting 7 to 10 days but with some amount of variability depending on the viral strain."

Over-the-counter eye drops, if used without the supervision of a doctor, may also be dangerous, Arroyo says, as this may cause complications such as glaucoma.

"Steroids can cause glaucoma, a blinding disease, in susceptible individuals. Patients are advised to consult an ophthalmologist for further diagnosis and treatment.

"Cold compresses and artificial tears are used for symptomatic relief."

Sore eyes is brought about by a virus that also causes the common cold, Arroyo shares.

It usually spreads during the cold and wet months when the incidence of viral respiratory infections is higher.

Arroyo notes that the best way to treat sore eyes is through proper hygiene -- wash hands with soap and water, use tissue instead of handkerchiefs to wipe eyes, and clean or dispose of infected materials immediately.

Photo courtesy of UNICEF