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עמוד בית
Sat, 24.10.20

Original Articles


Corneal Staining and Hot Black Tea Compresses

Abstract

Background: Warm compresses are widely touted as an effective treatment for ocular surface disorders. Black tea compresses are a common household remedy, although there is no evidence in the medical literature proving their effect and their use may lead to harmful side effects. 

Objectives: To describe a case in which the application of black tea to an eye with a corneal epithelial defect led to anterior stromal discoloration; evaluate the prevalence of hot tea compress use; and analyze, in vitro, the discoloring effect of tea compresses on a model of a porcine eye.

Methods: We assessed the prevalence of hot tea compresses in our community and explored the effect of warm tea compresses on the cornea when the corneal epithelium’s integrity is disrupted. An in vitro experiment in which warm compresses were applied to 18 fresh porcine eyes was performed. In half the eyes a corneal epithelial defect was created and in the other half the epithelium was intact. Both groups were divided into subgroups of three eyes each and treated experimentally with warm black tea compresses, pure water, or chamomile tea compresses. We also performed a study in patients with a history of tea compress use. 

Results: Brown discoloration of the anterior stroma appeared only in the porcine corneas that had an epithelial defect and were treated with black tea compresses. No other eyes from any group showed discoloration. Of the patients included in our survey, approximately 50% had applied some sort of tea ingredient as a solid compressor or as the hot liquid.

Conclusions: An intact corneal epithelium serves as an effective barrier against tea-stain discoloration. Only when this layer is disrupted does the damage occur. Therefore, direct application of black tea (Camellia sinensis) to a cornea with an epithelial defect should be avoided.

 


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