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Will eye diseases become a thing of the past?

The standard treatment for pink eye — acute conjunctivitis — is often an antibiotic. But new research shows that antibiotics may kill bacteria that are beneficial to the eye, with serious consequences.


Your gut and skin harbor a number of microbes — fungi, bacteria and viruses — and recent research has shown that your eyeballs do, as well. The eye microbiome offers protective immunity, which is vital for healthy eyes. Diseases of the eye sometimes occur when the eye microbiome is thrown out of balance, which may happen when unnecessarily treating eye diseases with an antibiotic, according to the World Economic Forum.

Scientists are studying the microbial factors in the live bacteria on the surface of the eye because they believe the microbes can be used to successfully treat a range of eye disorders such as dry eye disease, Sjögren's syndrome, corneal scarring and pink eye, according to WEF.

Antibiotics are used to treat 60% of pink eye (acute conjunctivitis) cases, which are most likely caused by viruses, in which case, antibiotics are not only ineffective, but may cause harm. Misuse or overuse of antibiotics can disrupt the eye microbiome, which could lead to infection, autoimmunity and even cancer, the report said.

Antibiotic resistance has become a major threat to public health worldwide, and the primary cause for this man-made epidemic is the widespread misuse of antibiotics — drugs used to combat bacterial infections in humans and animals.

In the U.S. alone, antibiotic-resistant pathogens are conservatively estimated to cause at least 2 million infections annually, leading to 23,000 deaths each year. Data from the European Union show there's been a significant rise of resistance to multiple antibiotics in Klebsiella pneumoniae and E. coli.

If you suffer from dry eye syndrome, there are natural remedies to relieve discomfort and increase the quantity and quality of your tears, including vitamin supplementation, upping your intake of omega-3 and avoiding environmental factors such as smoke, wind, dry air and screen time.

If you are diagnosed with pink eye and the cause is found to be a bacterial infection, probiotics may help. If it’s a virus, there are several natural remedies such as cold or warm compresses, colloidal silver, honey and boric acid.

You can protect your eyes and vision and prevent eye diseases by eating a healthy diet with a heavy concentration on vegetable and fruit intake. There are several foods that are especially beneficial for the eyes including kale, spinach, wild-caught Alaskan salmon, organic pastured egg yolks, black currants and bilberries. To maximize eye health, you should avoid sugar, especially fructose, trans fats and excessive carbohydrates.

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