Is Honey Safe to use in and around the Eye?

Yes, it appears that honey is safe for the eye. There have been no case reports of any adverse effects of getting honey in the eye.

Below are some studies describing the benefits of honey though the power of study (no controls) leads most eyeMDs to not recommend honey as a standard remedy until more randomized, controlled, blinded studies are performed.

 2011 Sep;36(9):787-96. doi: 10.3109/02713683.2010.544441. Epub 2011 Aug 3.

The use of topical honey in the treatment of corneal abrasions and endotoxin-induced keratitis in an animal model.


Department of Ophthalmology, Jones Eye Institute, Little Rock, Arkansas 72205, USA.



 To investigate the effect of topically applied honey on intact corneas, surgically induced corneal abrasions and endotoxin induced keratitis.


The effect of honey on the cornea was investigated by application of honey on intact corneas, wounded corneas and endotoxin-induced keratitis in Lewis rats. The corneas were wounded by creating an epithelial defect using a surgical blade, and the keratitis was induced by topically applying Pseudomonas aeruginosa endotoxin to scarified corneas. After treatment rats were sacrificed and cornea harvested in each case. Corneas were processed for paraffin embedding for histological and immuno-fluorescence staining. Corneas were also harvested and processed for total ribonucleic acid (RNA) isolation for reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analysis for various growth factors and inflammatory chemokines/cytokines).


 Histological analysis revealed that no inflammation or morphological changes occurred after honey treatment in naive intact corneas. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) levels were also not altered after honey treatment. Topical application of honey to injured corneas resulted in faster epithelial healing and decreased expression of VEGF, transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β), interferon gamma (IFN-γ), interleukin 12 (IL-12) and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) in injured corneas. Our results also established that honey treatment reduced the inflammation in endotoxin-induced keratitis by reducing the levels of angiogenic factors (VEGF and TGF-β), inflammatory cytokines (IL-12) and chemokines (CC chemokine receptor 5(CCR-5)).


 Short term use of honey on intact corneas can be safe. Honey has anti-angiogenic and anti-inflammatory properties that can be explored in several corneal inflammatory and infectious conditions.
 2006 Oct;25(9):1012-9.

Effect of antibacterial honey on the ocular flora in tear deficiency and meibomian gland disease.


Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia.



To assess for differences in the ocular flora of patients with dry eye caused by tear deficiency and/or meibomian gland disease and to assess the effect of antibacterial honey on the ocular flora in these forms of dry eye.


In this prospective, open-label pilot study, bacteria isolated from the eyelid margin and conjunctiva were identified and quantified before and at 1 and 3 months after initiation of treatment with topical application of antibacterial honey 3 times daily. Subjects had non-Sjogren tear deficiency (n = 20), Sjogren syndrome tear deficiency (n = 11), meibomian gland disease (n = 15), and non-Sjogren tear deficiency with meibomian gland disease (n = 20), and there were 18 non-dry eye subjects.


The total colony-forming units (CFUs) isolated from each of the dry eye subgroups before antibacterial honey use was significantly greater than the total CFU isolated from the non-dry eye group. Antibacterial honey use significantly reduced total CFUs for the eyelids and the conjunctiva of dry eye subjects from baseline at month 1 (eyelids: P = 0.0177, conjunctiva: P = 0.0022) and month 3 (eyelids: P < 0.0001, conjunctiva: P < 0.0001). At month 3, there were reductions in total CFUs for all dry eye subgroups such that the CFUs were not significantly different from those of the non-dry eye group.


From these results, there is sufficient preliminary data to warrant further study of the effects of antibacterial honey in chronic ocular surface diseases.
Not a great article below: translated from Portuguese but illustrates that Honey is not harmful to eye. Results are not reliable in my professional opinion as many studies have shown Autologous Serum to have significant beneficial effects:

Arq Bras. Ophthalmolo. vol.68 no.3 São Paulo May / June 2005


Effect of honey and autologous serum in corneal epithelial healing in rabbits

Effect of honey and autologous serum on corneal epithelial healing in rabbits

Gustavo Ricci MalavazziI.Jonathan Clive LakeII,Paul Elias Correa DantasIII

IGuiding Cataract Institute, Federal University of São Paulo (UNIFESP). São Paulo (SP)

IIAssistant Sectionof Cornea and External Diseases, Department of Ophthalmology of the Brotherhood of Santa Casa de São Paulo. São Paulo (SP)

IIIAssistant Sectionof Cornea and External Diseases, Department of Ophthalmology of the Brotherhood of Santa Casa de São Paulo. Sao paulo (SP)



To evaluate the efficacy of stimulant substances considered healing as pure honey and 20% autologous serum in corneal epithelial healing in rabbits.

We METHODS:performed removal of the corneal epithelium of two groups of rabbits that received instillation solution of pure honey (G1) or autologous serum (G2) every 4 hours. The contralateral eye was used as control and underwent the same procedure for removing the epithelium, instillation of receiving BSS®.The area of corneal scarification was evaluated 12, 24 and 48 hours after induction of epithelial defect.

RESULTS: The groups were statistically similar: honey (48 hours) and control (48 hours) p <0.87; autologous serum (48 hours) and control (48 hours) p <0.072.

CONCLUSION: Even though there is a slight improvement in clinical topical autologous serum in corneal epithelial healing was not significantly different during the study in any group.

Descriptors: Epithelium Cornea / pathology, Wound healing; Corneal diseases / therapy; Infection of injuries / therapy; Honey / therapeutic use; Ophthalmic Solutions / therapeutic use; Rabbits


PURPOSE: To Evaluate the efficacy of pure honey and 20% autologous serum and BSS® in corneal epithelial healing in rabbits after 48 hours.

METHODS: All solutions were applied after an epithelial removal of 13 millimeters diameter area. Areas of epithelial healing were Studied at 12, 24 and 48 hours. The eyes were treated every four hours During 2 days. All treated eyes were assigned to the control group (contralateral eye) treated with a balanced saline solution.

RESULTS: All Studied groups were not Significantly differents. In one group, the eyes treated with honey and the control were similar (p <0.87). In the second group the eyes treated with autologous serum and the control presented no difference in the mean score (p <0.072).

CONCLUSION: Corneal epithelial healing in rabbits did not show improvement after application of either honey or autologous serum. It was possible to stabilish que the autologous serum clinicaly treated eyes were better than the control group but without statistical significance.

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