What is Eyebright?
Other names: Euphrasia officinalis, meadow eyebright, red eyebright
Eyebright is a wild plant native to Europe. The name eyebright is thought to come from its use as a traditional folk remedy for eye irritation.
The active ingredients appear to be the tannins, which are thought to decrease inflammation.
Why Do People Use Eyebright?
Eyebright was used in folk medicine for eye conditions. The herb was used to make a solution and was then made into an eye wash or compress for inflammation. It was used for conjunctivitis, blepharitis, tired eyes, styes and eye irritation.
Eyebright has also been used orally as a supplement for eye irritation, eye strain and respiratory conditions such as allergies, bronchitis, colds and sinus infections.
These traditional uses haven't been proven in research studies.
Side Effects and Safety Concerns
Eyebright eye drops and compresses shouldn't be made at home. They must be produced under sterile conditions.
People who wear contacts or those who have had cataract removal, corneal transplants, laser eye surgery or other eye procedures shouldn't use eyebright drops unless they are recommended by their doctor.
The safety of eyebright in pregnant or nursing women is unknown.
Side effects of topical eyebright may include itchiness, increased sensitivity to light, swollen eyelids, changes in vision, watery eyes, or changes in eye pressure. Nausea, sweating and confusion have also been reported with oral eyebright use.
Call your health care practitioner if you experience any of these side effects: headache, itching, red, swollen eyelids, severe eye pressure, increases sensitivity to light, vision problems, or confusion.