We might be more used to pouring it on pancakes or using it to alleviate the symptoms of a cold, but according to a team of optometry researchers from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) Health Clinics, honey could also be used as a remedy for dry, red and sore eyes. Clinical Optometrist Dr Julie Albietz has been studying the benefits of antibacterial medial honeys on the surface of the eye for over ten years. She will be leading two trials which look into how honey-based therapies compare to traditional eye lid hygiene and lubrication products for managing dry eyes. Previously, Dr Albietz has pioneered the use of honey-based treatments and her research led to the commercialising of two dry eye drop products from Australian company Melcare, which contain Manuka honey. Manuka honey has been shown to have components with antibacterial qualities, leading it to be used to a number of medicinal purposes. Although there are many ways to treat dry eye disease, such as eye drops, ointments and antibiotic steroids, Dr Albietz claims that users can develop a resistance to antibiotics, while products containing steroids could have side effects including an increased risk of eye infection. The two clinical trials will evaluate the effectiveness of antibacterial honey eye drops against conventional eye drops and other clinic-based treatments. One will focus on contact lens wearers whose dry eyes cause issues with wear. The other will involve participants with meibomiam gland dysfunction – a chronic illness which causes inflamed eye lids and blocked oil glands. According to Dr Albietz, some of the bacterial benefits of honey are that bacteria cannot grow in concentrated honey solutions, and they demonstrate anti-inflammatory effects on the surface of the eye.