Our eyes are our windows on the world. It is, therefore, very important to take care of them and keep them healthy. Kaumarabrithyam expert, Dr. Arun B. Varier, tells us what children should do to take care of their eyes.
The deranged lifestyle and diet of today has resulted in various eye disorders in children. These are dealt with in the branch of SalakyaTantram in Ayurveda. These eye disorders can be prevented if we can encourage our children to follow the nethra samrakshana upayas.
Some of these are as follows:-
- Proper sleep with respect to age and related physical/mental activity is a must for children to maintain good eye health because swapnaviparyayam or abnormal sleep can cause a lot of nethrarogas or eye ailments
- Children should not be allowed to look at distant (dooreksnam) and minute(sookshma) objects for a long time. They should be advised to maintain a minimum healthy distance while watching television.
- Request your child’s school teacher to relocate his/her seating position, if required.
- Children should be discouraged from staring at objects for a long time. They should be encouraged to blink their eyes periodically to avoid any strain in the eye.
- Excess intake of theekshna, ushna, bottled drinks, fermented drinks, pickles, etc.,are unhealthy for the eyes and so these should be avoided.
- Overuse of amla rasa (sour) also should be checked. It is better to avoid foods that are baked, fried and difficult to digest, including breads and cakes.
- They should be encouraged to drink plenty of boiled and cool water and they should stay away from stimulants and caffeinated drinks.
- They should completely avoid virudha aharas at the same time,like consuming milk and fish or cold and hot substances together.
- Natural urges like jrimbha (yawning), hikka(belching), kshuth(hunger), asru (tears), chardi(vomiting), etc.,should never be suppressed as they may end up in nethra rogas in the long run.
- Over anxiousness and its causes should be checked.
- Continuous watching of moving objects like TV programmes and videos on mobiles must be strongly discouraged.
- Children should be encouraged to use goggles while swimming to prevent trauma and protect the eyes.
- They should always use only genuine anjanas or kajals for the eyes. Specially prepared anjanas for children are available in the market. This may be used daily according to the direction of your child’s consultant.
- Children should avoid exposure of the head and eyes to extreme climates.
- Washing the head in cold water immediately after playing and activities that result in heavy sweating can easily lead to netra rogas.It is good to wait for a few minutes after sweating to have bath. This will give the body ample time to adjust to the change in temperature. Also, never wash the head in hot water.
- Consult a physician in case of the following conditions – excessive tear flow, decreased tears, dryness, itching, redness, foreign body sensation, swelling, pain, pus secretion, etc. Avoid self medication.
- Avoid direct exposure to sunlight, x-rays, radiations, dust and other pollutants.
- Eye health in newborn babies should be checked as there is always a chance of infection due to the trauma at birth. If this is left untreated,it may later lead to serious eye disorders.
- Provide good and proper lighting for your child while studying. This should be pleasant and from the left side of your child’s seating area so as to prevent any image formation on their writing pad.Both dim and bright illuminations are unhealthy. They should avoid reading while in moving vehicles.
- Check the possibilities of having direct trauma (abhighata) to the eyes, especially with sharp objects like pencils. Children should be taught how to use sharp objects without harming the body.
- Encourage your children to use glasses if an advice is made to use it daily.
- Classical treatment procedures in Ayurveda including tharpanam with medicated ghees, aschyothanam, anjanam, sekam, gandoosham, nasyam, padaabhyangam etc are best used under medical supervision to restore eye health in children. Medicines like thriphala choornam, padoladi gritham, thraiphala gritham etc.can be well incorporated for managing paediatric eye ailments.
- Nutritional deficiency should be addressed properly. Food that are easily digestible with all essential nutrients,like leafy vegetables, whole millets, milk, seasonal fruits,etc., should be strictly included in your child’s diet. Gooseberry and thriphala fruits,if taken properly as advised by an expert, will have rasayana(rejuvenating) properties.
- Encourage your children to wear protective head gears like helmets when riding on your two wheeler.
- Eye diseases like blepheritis maybe the result of dandruff for which effective management is available in Ayurveda.
- Your children should be encouraged to wash his/her eyes with fresh cool water in the morning and in between while reading or studying for good eye health.
- Following good hygiene for the eyes will help to prevent infectious conditions like conjunctivitis.
- Application of an oil as prescribed by your consultant on the head and foot helps in preventing all types of eye diseases.
- Yogasanas like bhujangasanam, suryanamaskaram, savasanam, etc., can be learnt from a trained Yoga instructor to improve eye health.
- Routine eye check-ups at least once a year is advisable to rule out the possibilities of refractory errors, glaucoma, etc.,especially if there is a family history of these diseases.
Associate Professor & Head
Department of Ayurveda paediatrics (Kaumarabrithyam)
Ashtamgam Ayurveda Chikitsalayam & Vidyapeedham
Vavannoor , Pattambi, Palakkad, Kerala