Close your eyes for a few seconds. You will experience only darkness. Statistics show that forty-five million people around the world perennially live in this darkness. Globally, a person goes blind every five seconds, a child loses sight every minute. India has much to worry, as it is home to about 15 million blind people – the most numerous in the world.
The major cause of blindness in India is cataract ( 47.8%), followed by glaucoma, age related macular degeneration, corneal disorders, and diabetic retinopathy.
For all ailments, especially in the case of eyes, preventing the disease is far better than curing it once it happens.
Here are a couple of simple eye exercises that are beneficial for maintaining healthy eyes. These exercises, if practised regularly are extremely useful in relieving all kinds of strain on the eyes. It is also useful in preventing computer vision syndrome, refractive errors and other eye diseases to a great extent.
Sun is a wonderful help in relieving all sorts of discomforts of the eye. The well-being of the eye is based on light, like the health of the lungs is based on air. The eye should be exposed to the Sun for a period of 5 minutes daily. Firstly,one should apply a drop of rose water in each eye. After this, sit facing the Sun with eyes closed and chin raised. Now, sway your body from side to side like a pendulum for 5 minutes or count up to 100. Take care not to look directly at the Sun with open eyes. This may damage the delicate structures inside the eye.
After sunning, come to the shade and rinse your eyes by blinking about 20 times using a pair of eye washing cups filled to the brim with a weak solution of thriphala kashaya or five drops of pure honey in each eye cup diluted in water.
Sit comfortably, with your eyes closed, covered by the palms of your hands in such a way that the fingers are crossed on the forehead. The elbows should rest on a cushion to avoid pressure on the eyeball. Perfectly black field before the eyes are experienced. Improvement in eye sight and feeling of relaxation, relief of pain, and a sense of calmness can be experienced. This can be practised several times a day. Morning is the best time for practising this excercise. Fatigue, noise, hunger, anger, worry or depression are conditions which make palming difficult. While palming, if possible, listen to some story or music etc.
Taking deep breaths while practising this exercise is good. This will improve the accuracy and sensitiveness of the eyes, nerves and mind. While taking deep breath make sure to keep your mouth closed. Avoid all quick and jerky breathing. Pay more attention to exhalation than inhalation and count up to 100 or 300 numbers.
Moving the eyes from one point to another is called shifting. Stationary objects appear to move in the direction opposite to the movement of the head and eyes. For example, while travelling in a fast- moving train, objects (stationary) appear to move in the opposite direction. The eyes get rest while watching this movement.
Stand in front of a board with bars. Your feet should be about one foot apart and your body should move from right to left or vice versa. During this motion raise the heel of your right foot or vice versa alternatively upto 50 to 100 times. Shift your eyes along with the movement of your head and blink at each end. Observe the bars – they appear to move in the opposite direction.
The right way to swing is to move the eyes from one point to another slowly, regularly, continuously, restfully, easily without any effort. Lazily shift your focus from one point to the other without being conscious that you are seeing the objects. Blink each eye once. Then, move your head, eyes and body rhythmically from side to side.
Sit facing a candle flame about one foot apart and gently move forward and backward with rhythm of respirations while keeping the sight towards the flame. Count to 25 to 100 respirations.
Candle light reading
Fine print reading is beneficial to the eye. Shift the sight on the white line of fine print and blink at each end. Read fine print in day light and candle light alternatively, without spectacles (if any) or with spectacles. The book is held at a distance from which it is best seen. Move the head a little from side to side and blink often.
Playing with the ball
Toss a ball to the ground and observe the bounce while moving your sight and head at the same speed and blink the moment you catch it. Do this for 50 to 100 counts. Next toss the ball from the hand while moving your head as the eyes follow the ball and blink when you catch the ball.
Put two or threethulsi leaves in boiling water and allow the vapours to strike your face until you perspire well.
Wipe out the perspiration and put cotton pads, soaked in cold water and squeezed, on your closed eyes and relax for 10 minutes.
Note:-thriphala kashaya preparation- take 2 cups of water and add ¼ teaspoon thriphalachurna (available in Ayurvedic medicine stores), boil the water and strain after cooling.
Dr Adithya Babu P T P
Department of Salakyatantra
Vaidyaratnam P S Varier Ayurveda College, Kottakkal