Dry eye disease is a common condition with many complementary and alternative therapies promoted online. Patients may inquire about these therapies, and clinicians should be aware of the existence, safety, and efficacy of these therapies, as well as the quality of available online information.
Complementary and alternative medicine is a multibillion-dollar industry with increasing popularity. Dry eye disease is a chronic condition with many complementary and alternative therapies described online. Patients may inquire about and elect to forgo conventional treatments in favor of these therapies. This study identified alternative treatments for dry eye disease described online and evaluated the Web sites that described them.
An Internet search algorithm identified Web sites describing complementary and alternative therapies for dry eye disease. Web site quality was assessed using the Sandvik score to evaluate Web site ownership, authorship, source, currency, interactivity, navigability, and balance. The potential risk of Web sites to patients was assessed using a risk scoring system. A list of described therapies was compiled.
Eight Web sites describing complementary and alternative therapies for dry eye disease were assessed. The Sandvik score classified more than half of the Web sites as “satisfactory” and none as “poor.” The overall mean risk score was low at 0.9. One Web site displayed information that discouraged the use of conventional medicine, whereas no Web sites discouraged adhering to clinicians’ advice. The Web sites listed 12 therapies with a further 32 found in Web site comments. The most common therapies were acupuncture, vitamin supplements, homeopathic eye drops, castor oil, coconut oil, and chamomile eye wash.
The majority of analyzed Web sites were of satisfactory quality with a low potential risk to patients. However, some Web sites were biased toward their own therapies, lacked proper referencing, and/or did not identify authorship. Further research is required to ascertain the efficacy and safety of these therapies.

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