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Looking into the Eyes

The eyes are our windows to the world, in the sense they enable us to experience the beauty of the nature or see our loved ones or help us navigate safe.


But the beautiful and vital organ of the body is easily susceptible to ailments. According to a World Health Organisation report, at least 2.2 billion people suffer from eye-related ailments, of whom at least one billion have vision impairment that could have been prevented or is yet to be addressed.


The disease-causing factors are many. It may be due to exposure to computers for long hours or the rising air pollution in big cities and towns and the like. Internal factors such as stress, strain, improper diet or habits such as smoking too can have adverse effect on your sight.


A little bit of care can go a long way in helping us maintain good vision. Ayurveda has a set of eye-catching curing solutions.


'Netrachikitsa', the treatment of eye disorder, forms a part of 'Salakyatanthra' which deals with etiology, diagnosis and management of diseases affecting parts of body above the neck.


In Ayurveda, any disease reflects an imbalance in Dosha (humour) of the body. This is true of eye diseases too. A physician attempts to bring about a proper balance of Pitta Dosha through diet and regimen.


For instance, the modern solution for refractive errors is a pair of powerful glasses. Ayurveda tries to improve the focussing capacity of eyes from within instead of temporary solutions.


Eyes can adjust their focal length to view properly. Usually a problem occurs when the natural function of eye muscles and retina is affected. With proper medication, treatments and eye exercises, the spasm in the eye muscles is removed and they are re-energised. The lens gradually regains natural convexity.


The treatment of systematic diseases like diabetic retinopathy is another case in point. While the allopathic solution is application of laser to the damaged cells, an Ayurvedic physician tries to disable the environment conducive for organisms to thrive.


Ayurvedic treatments like 'tarpanam', 'nasyam', ‘takradhara’ and ‘netradhara’ re-establish retinal nutrition, prevents growth of fragile vessels, reverses metabolic changes manifested by diabetes, stops bleeding and the chances of recurrence and thus improves quality of vision.


There are surgical as well as non-surgical treatment procedures in Ayurveda. Procedures like Chedana (excision), bhedana (incision and drainage), lekhana (scrapping), Kuttan (pricking), aganikarma and ksherakarma (cauterization). Internal use of Ayurvedic herbal preparations and ocular therapies like somsodhana (cleansing process), samsamara (curative and palliative treatment) and parivarjana (preventive treatment) too are put to use.


What damages eyes of a normal person


There are certain conditions that upset the Tridoshas, causing eye diseases. These include exposure to excessive heat, cold or smoke; observing distant/ minute objects for long periods, disturbed and improper sleep, long bouts of weeping, anger, sorrow and exertion; trauma and infections.


Similarly reading or writing in poor light for long periods can cause refractive error, especially near sightedness. Many software professionals have the problem of dry eyes. Staring at the screens for hours on will cut down the frequency you blink and in-turn affects normal lubrication of the eye. Dry air-conditioned interiors can add to your woes.


All foreign objects including unhygienic water, sweat and dust are harmful to the eye. Sudden changes in temperature, insomnia and habits like sleeping during the day can cause dryness and exudation.


A common treatment solution to most of the day-to-day ailments is applying 'anjanam' (collirium) once a week which will help in expelling accumulated foreign objects in the eye. This should be followed by 'naavanam' (nasal drops), gandoosham (gargling medicated decoctions or oil in the mouth), dhoomapaanam (inhaling medicated smoke) and thaamboolacharvanam (betal chewing).


Do's and Don'ts


-A diet high in liquids and/or taking excessive intake of milk, tea or coffee at night. This can cause abnormal pressure in the eyeball.


-The habit of withholding natural urge to defecate or urinate can lead to Vata dosha, related to refractive errors.


-Extreme emotions and tension can affect functioning of optic nerves, veins, arteries and lacrimal glands, leading to cataract and refractive errors.


-Excessive use of alcohol can affect blood circulation in the eye.


-Eating too much of sweet food can cause diabetic retinopathy.


Preventive measures


According to Ayurveda, the best method of treatment is to avoid causative factors. A few preventive measures are enlisted below:-



-- Wash your eyes with 'thriphala kwatham' (decoction of thriphala powder, made of Amalaki (emblica officinalis), Bibhitaki (terminalia bellirica) and Hariyali (terminalia chebula). To make this, add one teaspoon of thriphala powder to a glass of clean water, keep it overnight, strain it in the morning and wash your eyes with it.


-- In case of dryness, wash your eyes by using water boiled with fennel seeds. ( boil one cup of water with about half teaspoon of fennel seeds).


-- Washing the eyes with a concoction prepared with coriander or applying a paste of babool leaves over the eyes before going to sleep will help in reducing conjunctivitis.


-- Applying oil on the sole (Padabhyongam) can do wonders by inducing good sleep and strengthening the eyes.


-- Regular application of medicated oil on the head before bath improves eyesight.


-- Keeping a slice of cucumber or potato over the eye for a few minutes can reduce tiredness.


-- Taking in ghee can improve vision in children.


-- Professionals spending long hours before computer should exercise eyes at frequent intervals. This can be done by blinking several times, closing your eyes and rolling eyeballs clockwise and anticlockwise. They can also splash water on their face during breaks besides a few minutes of walk. Setting up antiglare screen on monitors too will go a long way in protecting the eyes.



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